First of its Kind Kickstarter Campaign Launched to
Help Save Endangered African Penguins
Memphis Zoo is proud to “Invest in the Nest”
MEMPHIS, TENN. – African penguin populations have been declining steadily for the past few decades. The Memphis Zoo, an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, is joining with the AZA and other accredited aquariums and zoos to take action and help reverse this trend. Today, the Memphis Zoo is supporting the AZA on the launch of the “Invest in the Nest” campaign on Kickstarter, the innovative crowdfunding platform.
The AZA seeks to raise $150,000 to help build and place 1,500 artificial nests for African penguins in South Africa and Namibia, as establishing new artificial nests is a priority identified in the AZA SAFE African penguin conservation plan, and necessary to help save African penguins.
“The Memphis Zoo has been involved in African penguin conservation for 31 years,” said Matt Thompson, Director of Animal Programs at the Memphis Zoo. “Our African penguin animal care professionals provide expert care to our birds every day, and we’re applying that expertise directly to help these wild colonies. The AZA’s “Invest in the Nest” campaign is a great way for the public to join us in helping save African penguins in the wild.”
Where once there were over one million breeding pairs of African penguins, now there are only about 25,000. These unique and fascinating birds used to build their nests where they lay their eggs and raise their families in a thick, stable layer of guano, or penguin poo. But for decades, their guano has been over-harvested by humans to sell as fertilizer, leaving them without a safe place to make their homes. Add to that problem predation, dwindling food supply, and habitat changes and you’ve got a recipe for unimaginable population decline.
“We’re always excited about campaigns that expand our worldview and actively contribute to innovation around the globe. AZA’s Invest in the Nest is pushing boundaries in the practice of conservation and brining optimism and direct action to the Kickstarter backer community,” says Clarissa Redwine, Kickstarter’s Design and Technology Outreach Lead for the West Coast. “ This conservation effort takes backers through the process of designing, building, and installing habitat structures that will help save endangered African penguins, helping Kickstarter backers play a vital part in protecting wildlife.”
Supporters of the campaign won’t go away empty-handed. A variety of rewards is available for backing the Kickstarter campaign, including exclusive behind-the-scenes opportunities at some of the best aquariums and zoos in the country, as well as original penguin art, symbolic penguin adoption kits, T-shirts, totes, posters and more.
“AZA-accredited aquariums and zoos believe we should do more to help save species, which is why we started SAFE: Saving Animals From Extinction,” said Dan Ashe, President and CEO of AZA. “We brought together scientists and engineers to help us design the best nest for African penguins. Now we need the public’s help to build and place the nests in South Africa. AZA’s Invest in the Nest is an opportunity for anyone to help save a species!”
In addition, the Memphis Zoo is supporting SAFE: Saving Animals From Extinction ®, a program that brings together the expertise and resources of AZA, its members, and partners to help save species from extinction.
If fully funded, the nests will be constructed by hand in South Africa, helping to create jobs for residents.
To back or follow the AZA’s campaign, visit the “Invest in the Nest” campaign page on Kickstarter.
About the Memphis Zoo
The Memphis Zoo, located in Memphis, Tennessee, is home to more than 3,500 animals representing over 500 different species. Recently named as one of the top zoos in the country by TripAdvisor® and by USA Today, the Memphis Zoo has completed over $93 million in renovations and expansion since the early 1990s. The Zoo’s animal inhabitants reside in one-of-a-kind exhibitry, such as Once Upon A Farm, The Commercial Appeal Cat Country, Primate Canyon, Animals of the Night, Northwest Passage, Teton Trek, CHINA - home to giant pandas YaYa and Le Le, and the all-new Zambezi River Hippo Camp. The Memphis Zoo was founded in 1906 and resides on 70 acres in the middle of Overton Park. It is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Memphis Zoo, YaYa and Le Le are trademarks of the Memphis Zoo. The Memphis Zoo has been a member of AZA since 1974.
Founded in 1924, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of zoos and aquariums in the areas of conservation, animal welfare, education, science, and recreation. AZA is the accrediting body for the top zoos and aquariums in the United States and eight other countries. Look for the AZA accreditation logo whenever you visit a zoo or aquarium as your assurance that you are supporting a facility dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for you, and a better future for all living things. The AZA is a leader in saving species and your link to helping animals all over the world. To learn more, visitwww.aza.org.
About SAFE: Saving Animals From Extinction®
SAFE: Saving Animals From Extinction combines the power of zoo and aquarium visitors with the resources and collective expertise of AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums and partners to save animals from extinction. Together we are working on saving the most vulnerable wildlife species from extinction and protecting them for future generations. To learn more, visit http://www.aza.org/aza-safe.