From The Australian:
Penguins move into igloo development
From correspondents in Johannesburg
September 20, 2006
SOUTH African officials have built a housing development of fibreglass igloos for a colony of endangered penguins, hoping to replicate natural nesting grounds damaged by environmental degradation.
The penguin housing colony on Dyer Island, near Cape Town, is seen as a last ditch effort to save the colony, which has dwindled to just 5000 animals, from 25000 in the 1970s, officials said today.
“We’re trying to copy the natural system.
Academics and scientists have given us input and we’re monitoring success on an ongoing basis,” said Lauren Waller, nature conservator for CapeNature, the provincial environmental preservation body.
Dyer Island, a bleak islet popular with shark spotting tours, was once rich in nutrient-rich guano – bird faeces – but has seen the resource stripped by commercial enterprises who sell it as fertiliser.
That proved bad news for the African penguins – formerly known as Jackass penguins – which rely on guano to nest their eggs, hide from predators and provide a rare spot of shade on an island almost devoid of trees and bushes.
Conservationists now plan to construct up to 2000 artificial burrows on the island, hoping the fibreglass igloos will persuade more penguins to procreate.
See also here.
African penguin webcam in California: here.
The name jackass penguin is from their sound.
A different, but somewhat similar sounding, penguin species (Gentoo penguin in English) is called ezels-(=jackass) pinguin in Dutch.
A recent catastrophic decline in numbers of African penguins in the wild has raised alarm with conservationists, and a research and conservation programme has been set up by Bristol Zoo and others: here.
Penguin species threatened by extinction: here.