Centre for in situ Observational Oceanography

USA Kickstarter

In addressing the South African National Biodiversity Management plan, one of the actions was to investigate new artificial nests for the African Penguin. The enormity of this project required multiple collaborators and none more important than SAFE. We are proud to now share Phase 2 of the artificial nest project with all our collaborators , sponsors and donors so that you might walk the road with us in the Conservation of an iconic species, the African Penguin.


Safe AZASafe AZA

Kickstarter Project Frequently Asked Questions

May 5, 2017


Why is AZA doing a Kickstarter?
Creative, world-changing projects that wouldn’t otherwise happen are funded on the Kickstarter platform every day. In fact, almost 13 million people have backed projects on Kickstarter and made incredible ideas come to life. If there’s any community ready to tackle this huge issue and make history for penguins, it’s Kickstarter’s community.

Why right now?
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. 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.

AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums, and our partners around the world, are working diligently to find solutions to the dangers these birds face. But we can’t do it without some broader support. So far, we’ve been able to secure funding for the first research and development phase of our project. Now we’re ready to take it to the next level and we are looking for the funding to help us produce and install 1,500 nests to place in penguin colonies across South Africa and Namibia.

How are the artificial nests made?
These nests are built using special materials that ensure the optimal temperature for penguin egg gestation inside, and hold up to predators on the outside. But those special materials make it impossible to fabricate the nests by machine, so each one is made by hand by local South African workers.

What is included in the $150,000 Kickstarter goal?
● Production and installation of 1,500 nests in South Africa and Namibia.
● Cost of producing rewards and fulfilling them
● Overhead expenses for coordinating this project with our member zoos and aquariums and marketing to the public
● Kickstarter and credit card processing fees

What else are AZA members doing to help African penguins?
Between 2011 and 2015, more than 44 AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums took part in or supported African penguin field conservation projects. Over those five years, the AZA community invested in-kind or directly more than $530,000 in African penguin conservation. Supported projects have provided financial support to facilities that rescue, rehabilitate, and reintroduce both adult penguins and their chicks, as well as to keep animal keepers and other staff to help support conservation efforts. Members have also supported various health-related projects.

What will happen if the goal is not met?
AZA will continue to work to find funding for the SAFE African Penguin Artificial Nest Development Project. But time is critical. Every delay brings them one step closer to extinction.

What happens when you reach your goal of $150,000? What will you do with funds raised in excess of the goal?
As we come closer to our goal, we’ll post details about our “stretch goal,” which includes scaling this program up to save even more African penguins. Look for these updates as we get closer to $150,000!

What are the T-shirt sizes and how do I indicate the size I want?
Once the campaign has concluded and we’ve reached our $150,000 goal, you will receive a brief survey where you can indicate what size T-shirt you’d like, as well as your mailing address and other information we’ll need to send your reward(s).

Sizes available:
● XSmall
● Small
● Medium
● Large
● XLarge
● 2XLarge

Do behind-the-scenes and other event-related rewards include travel and accommodations?
Travel and accommodations for in-person experiences are NOT included with rewards, and are at the backer’s expense. Some rewards are date specific; Please be sure you can attend before backing. Other restrictions may apply.

When will I receive my reward(s)?
We expect to send rewards 8-10 weeks after the close of the campaign.



FAQ for Visitor Services/Docents/Curators


What is a Kickstarter?
A KICKSTARTER campaign is a short-term effort to produce funding from the public for a specific creative project. Kickstarters all have a GOAL -- the amount they want to raise -- to make their project possible. The funding is all or nothing: if the campaign does not meet its goal, none of the money is delivered.

Kickstarter supporters are called BACKERS. Backers pledge to support projects at different levels and in return, they get REWARDS. While the campaign is live, a backer can make their pledge at one specific level. Once the campaign reaches its goal, the backer’s credit card will be charged. If the campaign does not reach its goal during the time it is live, credit cards are not processed. Backers can change their pledge level at any time, or cancel their pledge.

How can I back this project?
Go to AZA website. You need to have a Kickstarter account (just an email is needed). Decide what reward level suits you and make a pledge! Your credit card will only be charged if the goal is met.

How can I help this project?
Share it on your social media like Facebook and Twitter, using the hashtag #InvestInTheNest.



Kickstarter Project : Goal reached !

June 9, 2017

THANK YOU from the small artificial nest team of Trudi (APSS & DICT), Kevin (Dallas & AZA), Sophie & JohnW(PAAZA) to EVERY contributor/backer to #investinthenest Kickstarter fund raiser as well as AZA SAFE #thankyouaza in helping us reach our target with 8 days to spare – GREATLY APPRECIATED. Your most generous contributions will enable this small, dedicated team, to plan Phase 3 and beyond in an effort to save the Endangered African Penguin from extinction. Supporters will also be able to follow the Phase 2 deployment of the nests via www.cfoo.co.za/penguin.php plus a lot more scientific information from the team.


Invest in the nest