Adopt a Penguin to Help Conservation

Emperor Penguin Family

Christopher Michel / Flickr / CC by 2.0

Penguins are charming birds and feathered favorites for birders and non-birders alike, making them ideal for conservation-oriented adoptions. Adopting a penguin is a great gesture to support these birds and show one's love for penguins and all wildlife.

Why Adopt

People choose to adopt penguins for many reasons, from a souvenir from a visit with penguins to the perfect gift for a penguin lover to inspiring a new birder who likes penguins. But these symbolic adoptions also serve many useful purposes to help penguin conservation as well. While the way adoption funds will be used varies between different organizations, typical ways penguin adoptions can help support these flippered birds include:

  • Cleaning up oil spills or other pollution that directly impacts penguins and other seabirds
  • Feeding and caring for injured, oiled, or vagrant penguins or abandoned chicks
  • Supporting captive breeding programs to increase penguin populations
  • Preserving pelagic habitats penguins use as well as protecting penguin nesting colonies
  • Funding research projects and conservation studies involving penguins
  • Promoting penguin-themed educational programs and presentations
  • Supporting the care of captive penguins that cannot be released to the wild
  • Offsetting the operational costs for penguin rehabilitation and research facilities

Every dollar that is raised through reputable penguin adoptions helps support these amazing birds and raise awareness for conservation issues that impact them.

What You Get

When adopting a penguin, the bird's benefactor does not get to take the penguin home, but the "adoption" is a symbolic means of supporting the bird. Different organizations and facilities offer different benefits for adopting penguins, which range from personalized adoption certificates to the ability to name a captive or rehabilitated penguin, membership in the organization, an informational packet about the bird, photos of the penguin, or other gifts.

Plush toys, penguin cookie cutters, books, movies, gift bags, and organization logo merchandise are all popular parts of penguin adoption packages. More expensive donations may even include unique experiences such as a behind-the-scenes tour or the opportunity to participate in a rehabilitated penguin release.

What birders and other penguin lovers get most of all from their adoption, however, is the knowledge that they have helped support these amazing birds in a personal and intimate way, and their adoption will be used to help protect and preserve penguins and other wildlife.

Where to Adopt

Many different wildlife protection organizations, seabird rehabilitation groups, and penguin facilities offer symbolic penguin adoptions. Great places to adopt a penguin include:

  • SANCCOB: Different adoption levels of African penguins include home pen adoptions for the facility's permanent residents, naming a penguin, or deluxe adoptions.
  • Penguin Foundation: Adopt a little penguin and support conservation for the smallest penguin species. Several donation levels are available, including yearly gifts.
  • Dyer Island Conservation Trust: Sponsor an African penguin nest and support nest boxes, monitoring efforts, and other conservation programs.
  • Oceana: Several penguin adoption kits available, including a penguin cookie cutter kit for a quirky gift that supports penguins and other marine life.
  • Falklands Conservation: Adoption packages support king penguins for a year's worth of conservation efforts.
  • Zoological Society of London: Adopt Ricky the Rockhopper penguin at the London Zoo and help support the zoo's conservation work.
  • Audubon Nature Institute: Adopt an adult or chick African penguin, with several adoption packages available at different price and benefit levels.
  • Galapagos Conservation Trust: Sponsor a Galapagos penguin through digital, postal, or limited edition adoption package options.
  • World Wildlife Fund: Adopt different penguin species, including emperor, African, and rockhopper penguins, as well as emperor penguin chicks.
  • National Wildlife Federation: Both adult and baby emperor penguins available to adopt with gifts at different price levels.
  • The Wave Foundation: African, king, and rockhopper penguins are available to adopt, and the highest of the four adoption levels comes with authentic penguin-made artwork.
  • The Florida Aquarium: Three different adoption levels are available for African penguins, and each comes with a penguin plush and updates about the sponsored bird.
  • Defenders of Wildlife: A variety of penguin-themed adoptions featuring emperor and king penguins, penguin families, igloo penguins, and other fun options.
  • The National Aviary: Adopt an African penguin and get the chance to meet your bird in person if you choose the highest sponsorship level.
  • World Animal Foundation: Symbolic penguin adoptions that go to help the foundation's conservation mission. Gift adoptions are available.
  • Changing the Present: Penguin adoptions that support research for more efficient vehicles to slow fossil fuel use and stop melting Antarctic ice that harms penguins.
  • Local bird facilities: Many local zoos, aviaries, and aquariums offer wildlife adoptions to directly support their residents and local conservation efforts. Check with your favorite place to see captive birds and to learn what options are available to support penguins right at home.

Many of these organizations also offer other birds for symbolic adoptions, including owls, eagles, puffins, pelicans, and even popular backyard species, as well as other mammals, reptiles, and more. Every dollar raised helps support their work for protecting wildlife, including birds and penguins, and each adoption is a valuable contribution to conservation.