Penguin Consortium, under the leadership of Sean Putney, Senior Director of Zoological Collections, the Zoo is partnering with other AZA Zoo to aid in keeping the designation of Punta San Juan as a Marine Reserve under the Peruvian Protected Areas System and securing the future of the Humboldt penguin in Punta San Juan.
The Center for Resource Sustainability (a Peruvian NGO) strives to secure the funding necessary to maintain adequate personnel to continue the collection of biological data and protection of Humboldt penguins. Kansas City Zoo has joined forces with the St. Louis Zoo and the Brookfield Zoo to carry on the very important Penguin Census and the teaching the sustainable harvesting of guano practices. The Penguin Census has already shown that the total combined populations in Peru, and along the cost of Chile, can be reliably estimated at only 40,000 Humboldt penguins — a tiny percentage of the population first discovered in the 19th century along the same coastline.
Humboldt penguins face increasing challenges due to an increase in El Niño events caused by climate change. As overfishing, coastal development, and pollution tax the fragile Peruvian coast, climate change threatens to push the area to the brink of collapse.
In January 2016, three Kansas City Zoo staff members traveled to Peru scouting educational partners and documenting via video and photos the work being accomplished and future conservation opportunities. These experiences will be put to plan as we continue to build a partnership and a Kansas City Zoo impact in Peru.