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$113,286 pledged of $150,000 goal
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All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by .

By AZA
$113,286 pledged of $150,000 goal
backers

All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by .

About this project

African penguins are in peril. Where once there were over one million breeding pairs of penguins, now there are only about 25,000. And if we don’t act right now, we could lose the species entirely to extinction.

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 -- yep, that’s poop. 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. 

But hope for the African penguin is not lost! Members of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) from around the globe have come together with a plan to take on this unique challenge. We’ve got the best animal scientists and researchers on the case, and they’ve got a simple, but powerful, solution: an artificial nest, rigorously tested and perfected in the field.

The design for the artificial nest didn't happen overnight. Our design is the product of rigorous scientific testing in the field and many failed prototypes that helped us learn how to get these nests just right.

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. Not only will your pledge support the conservation of a beautiful and unique species, it will provide training and job skills to local South African workers.

One of the most important criteria we set for materials used in artificial nests is that they must be environmentally friendly. The nests are made of two-part ceramic composite with a resin hardener that can be reused at the end of their life cycle, which is expected to be at least 15 years. We've been extremely careful to make sure that the product we're producing meets both the need of the penguins and the strict guidelines we have in place for conservation of the overall environment.

We spent 3 months rigorously field-testing 15 different nest prototypes, each equipped with high-precision sensors so we could learn exactly what goes into the perfect penguin home. Here are just a few of the designs we tried:


We’re testing our strongest performers in South Africa now, but we need your help to get the best of the nests to all the penguin pairs that need them. Invest in the Nest today!

AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums, and our partners around the world, are working fast and furiously to find solutions to the dangers these birds face. But we can’t do it without you. 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. You can help us produce and install 1,500 nests to place in actual penguin colonies across South Africa and Namibia. So yes -- zoos and aquariums need your help to make this happen. But ultimately, it’s the African penguins that need you. Humans have contributed to the decline of this species, and it’s up to us to give them a chance for survival.

 

Creative, world-changing projects that wouldn’t otherwise happen are funded on the Kickstarter platform every day thanks to committed backers like you. If there’s any community ready to tackle this huge issue and make history for penguins, it’s Kickstarter.

And, your involvement doesn’t end when you pledge to back our campaign. We’ll be sharing project updates with you from zoos and aquariums around the world -- not to mention updates about the penguin colonies you’re helping to save in South Africa!

African penguins are an indicator species -- they provide “early warning” for the health of their whole ecosystem and can act as a proxy for overall biodiversity in their region. Identifying indicator species in itself is a challenge!  

Changes to the fish stocks, sea temperatures, and weather patterns have all contributed to the endangerment of the African penguin. It’s clear that their ecosystem is at risk, and everything we can do to protect them will improve the health of that ecosystem. 

AZA-accredited aquariums and zoos frequently provide financial support to field conservation partners such as Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB), which provides high-quality rehabilitation and veterinary services to African penguins and other seabirds in need. SANCCOB is also focused on raising awareness about endangered seabirds through conservation education programs and research projects, many of which have an AZA-accredited member as a collaborator.  

Between 2011 and 2015, more than 40 AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums took part in or supporting field conservation projects benefitting African penguins. During those five years, the AZA community invested over $530,000 in African penguin conservation.  

In late 2014, AZA and its members brought together a variety of stakeholders in South Africa to talk about the threats facing African penguins. Following this meeting, 8 projects that can help save African penguins were developed and vetted by zoological professionals. One of those 8 projects is this Artificial Nest Project. You can read more about the progress to date in helping African penguins here: https://www.aza.org/SAFE-african-penguin-conservation-projects

Prototypes are going into zoos and aquariums around the country right now for more observation! Once the Kickstarter is complete, the nests will be manufactured and installed in waves over the next 6 to 10 months.

The majority of the funds we crowdsource on Kickstarter will go directly to the production and distribution of 1,500 artificial nests. Once we’ve built 1,500 nests, we’ll place them in up to a dozen penguin colonies all across South Africa and Namibia. In addition to the costs of production and distribution, Kickstarter funds will be used to produce marketing materials and to produce and deliver unique penguin-inspired rewards for backers like you!   

Your pledge doesn’t just get you a front row seat as we work together to save a species from the threat of extinction! (Although that’s pretty hard to beat if you ask us.) We’re also offering a range of incredible -- and exclusive! -- rewards like our #InvestInTheNest cling decal for your car or laptop, a special tote bag, t-shirt or poster featuring our original design: 

You can also get rare behind-the-scenes penguin encounters at local zoos and aquariums in the United States, ORIGINAL penguin art (painted by a real penguin), and much more!   

Original Penguin Painting
Original Penguin Painting

Your pledge is tax-deductible! Where goods and services are provided by the AZA in exchange for your contribution, the amount that is deductible for federal income tax purposes is limited to the excess of your total contribution over the fair market value of the goods and services provided.  

If our project is completed and the goal is met, you will be asked to fill out a survey so that we can send you your rewards. The AZA is unable to recognize your gift, or provide rewards, unless the informational survey is completed.  

Please allow an additional 4-6 weeks for your reward to ship internationally. Note: we are not responsible for international customs fees.  

Some of the rewards are experiences (tours, events, lectures) offered at a specific time and place. The AZA, and our participating member zoos and aquariums, are not responsible for any backer’s travel or costs to participate in such experiences. Further, if a cause beyond the control of the AZA and participating member zoos and aquariums requires cancelling or rescheduling an experience, the AZA, zoos, or aquariums are not responsible for any additional travel or costs a backer may incur in order to participate at the new time. The AZA and participating member zoos and aquariums cannot guarantee that experiences are occurring on dates yet to be announced, or that must be rescheduled, will occur on a date that is convenient for all backers.

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. Currently, over 230 aquariums, nature centers, science centers and zoos are accredited by AZA.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ABQ BioPark

African Safari Wildlife Park

Aquarium of the Pacific  

Arizona Center for Nature Conservation  

Audubon Nature Institute  

Birmingham Zoo  

Blank Park Zoo  

Brandywine Zoo  

Caldwell Zoo  

California Academy of Sciences  

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo  

Children's Zoo at Celebration Square  

Cincinnati Zoo  

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo  

Como Park Zoo and Conservatory  

Connecticut's Beardsley Zoo  

Cosley Zoo  

Dallas World Aquarium  

Dallas Zoo  

Detroit Zoological Society  

Dickerson Park Zoo  

Disney's Animal Kingdom; The Seas with Nemo & Friends; Animal Kingdom Lodge  

Elmwood Park Zoo  

Fort Wayne Children's Zoo  

Great Plains Zoo  

Greensboro Science Center  

Houston Zoo  

Jenkinson's Aquarium  

John Ball Zoo  

Lincoln Park Zoo  

Los Angeles Zoo  

Maryland Zoo  

Memphis Zoo  

Minnesota Zoo  

Monterey Bay Aquarium  

Nashville Zoo 

National Aviary  

North Carolina Aquariums  

NEW Zoo & Adventure Park  

Newport Aquarium  

Oregon Coast Aquarium  

Peoria Zoo  

Philadelphia Zoo  

Potter Park Zoo  

Racine Zoo  

Ripleys Aquarium of the Smokies

Riverbanks Zoo and Garden  

Roosevelt Park Zoo  

Rosamond Gifford Zoo  

Saint Louis Zoo  

Santa Fe College 

SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment 

Sedgwick County 

Shedd Aquarium 

Tennessee Aquarium 

The Ocean Project 

Tulsa Zoo 

Turtle Back Zoo

Utah's Hogle Zoo 

Vancouver Aquarium; Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre 

Wildlife Conservation Society Zoos and Aquarium (Bronx, Central Park, Queens, Prospect Park, New York Aquarium) 

Western North Carolina Nature Center 

Zoo Knoxville

The Association of Zoos & Aquariums is using Kickstarter, a third-party online funding platform. Please be advised that Kickstarter’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy apply to your use of this service. Any data that the Association of Zoos & Aquariums collects, uses, stores or disseminates is subject to our Privacy Policy.  

Thank you for interest in pledging your support for the Association of Zoos & Aquariums. When you elect to complete your pledge, you will be directed by Kickstarter to the third party payment processing site operated by Stripe. Please be aware that you will be providing your payment data (including other personally identifiable information and credit card information) directly to Stripe, and they will issue payment to the Association of Zoos & Aquariums upon further instruction from Kickstarter. At no time during this process will the Association of Zoos & Aquariums have access to information about the status of your payment transaction. In the event of any errors or delays in processing your payment, the Association of Zoos & Aquariums will not have the ability to correct those errors, or otherwise assume the processing of your pledge. Please review Stripe’s Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions before proceeding with your payment. The Association of Zoos & Aquariums cannot accept any responsibility for any privacy or data handling risks associated with third party payment processing, nor can it guarantee delivery of your gift in the event of a processing error that results in your pledge not being conveyed to the Association of Zoos & Aquariums.  

Investment is not permitted on Kickstarter. The Association of Zoos & Aquariums does not offer incentives like equity, revenue sharing, or investment opportunities in exchange for a pledge. Your “investment” in the African penguin nest is an investment in the future of that species -- not for monetary gain.

Risks and challenges

No matter the outcome of this Kickstarter project, the Association of Zoos & Aquariums and our member organizations will remain committed to the conservation of the African penguin. However, a project of this scale -- one that could turn the tide in the potential extinction of an entire species -- hinges on the participation of hundreds of compassionate backers like you. Without your support, this project simply will not be possible.

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    Nest To Meet You Starter Pack

    Welcome to our fine feathered family! Chip in $3, and we’ll send you a personal, heartfelt “thank you” and exclusive updates from the project.

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    The Keep Cool Digital Poster

    We’ll send you a print-quality digital download of this special poster, designed exclusively for our project. Print it and hang it, or make it your desktop wallpaper.

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    #InvestInTheNest Car Decal

    Show your support for African penguins every time you go for a dive—er, drive. Add some flair to your flightless vehicle with this attractive car decal.

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    Friend of Feathers Celebrity Voicemail

    You don’t need black tie apparel to get the star treatment. Support our project with a $25 pledge and download a Jack Hanna message to be your exclusive voicemail recording!

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    The Pinguin

    This pin is the perfect accessory, whether you’re rocking a tuxedo or a tuxedo t-shirt.

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    Turn the Tide Tote

    An all-purpose tote bag for a cause is the coolest thing to take under your wing. Use it for groceries, books, or beach necessities—all while carrying your support for penguins on your sleeve.

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    The Suit Up Shirt

    Support our project and we’ll send you this awesome t-shirt (we’ll ask your size if we reach our goal)—no bowtie required.

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    Marine Masterpiece: print edition

    Support our project with a $75 donation and get a print poster of this original penguin graphic print inspired by this project!

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    Marine Masterpiece: original (5x7”)

    A one-of-a-kind masterpiece from a Penguin Picasso. A penguin created this incredible painting with its feet and non-toxic paint—and it’s ready to hang on the wall of your own nest!

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    Adopt a Penguin Kit

    Bring the perfect guest home to your nest. We’ll send you a cuddly, significantly less fishy-smelling version of the adorable penguins you’re supporting, with an official adoption certificate. It’s a great gift for a wildlife-loving child in your life, but we won’t judge you if you keep it for yourself.

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    Marine Masterpiece: original (8x10”)

    An even bigger version of our one-of-a-kind masterpiece from a Penguin Picasso. A penguin created this incredible painting with its feet and non-toxic paint—and it’s ready to hang on the wall of your own nest! Très chic(k).

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    Magic at the Mystic

    Enjoy an unforgettable evening with your favorite fellow penguin lover. We’ll send you two tickets to Mystic Aquarium’s famous South African Wine Dinner (February 28), hosted in the aquarium’s main gallery and featuring a visit from some of Mystic’s African penguins!

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    Penguin Play (Fort Wayne Children's Zoo)

    Get up close and personal with a flippered friend and one of its keepers. You and a guest will be able to learn what it takes to care for penguins, have your questions answered by an expert, and hang out with a penguin in person. (Reward redeemable until July 2018.)

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    Penguin Playtime (Dallas Zoo)

    Get up close and personal with a flippered friend and one of its keepers. You and a guest will be able to learn what it takes to care for penguins, have your questions answered by an expert, and hang out with a penguin in person. (Reward redeemable until July 2018.)

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    Penguin Playtime (Oregon Zoo)

    Get up close and personal with a flippered friend and one of its keepers. You and a guest will be able to learn what it takes to care for penguins, have your questions answered by an expert, and hang out with a penguin in person. (Reward redeemable until July 2018.)

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    Penguin Playtime (Caldwell Zoo, TX)

    Get up close and personal with a flippered friend and one of its keepers. You and THREE friends will be able to learn what it takes to care for penguins, have your questions answered by an expert, and hang out with a penguin in person. (Reward redeemable until July 2018.)

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    Penguin Playtime (Jenkinson's, NJ)

    Get up close and personal with a flippered friend and one of its keepers at Jenkinson's Aquarium. You and THREE friends will be able to learn what it takes to care for penguins, have your questions answered by an expert, and hang out with a penguin in person. (Reward redeemable until July 2018.)

    Includes:
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    • #InvestInTheNest Car Decal
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    Penguin Playtime (John Ball Zoo, MI)

    Get up close and personal with a flippered friend and one of its keepers. You and THREE friends will be able to learn what it takes to care for penguins, have your questions answered by an expert, and hang out with a penguin in person. (Reward redeemable until July 2018.)

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    • #InvestInTheNest Car Decal
    • Turn the Tide Tote
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    Penguin Playtime (Blank Park Zoo, IA)

    Get up close and personal with a flippered friend and one of its keepers. You and THREE friends will be able to learn what it takes to care for penguins, have your questions answered by an expert, and hang out with a penguin in person. (Reward redeemable until July 2018.)

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    • #InvestInTheNest Car Decal
    • Turn the Tide Tote
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    Penguin Playtime (National Aviary, PA)

    Get up close and personal with a flippered friend and one of its keepers. You and THREE friends will be able to learn what it takes to care for penguins, have your questions answered by an expert, and hang out with a penguin in person. (Reward redeemable until July 2018.)

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    • #InvestInTheNest Car Decal
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    Penguin Playtime (Zoo Knoxville, TN)

    Get up close and personal with a flippered friend and one of its keepers. You and THREE friends will be able to learn what it takes to care for penguins, have your questions answered by an expert, and hang out with a penguin in person. (Reward redeemable until July 2018.)

    Includes:
    • Nest To Meet You Starter Pack
    • #InvestInTheNest Car Decal
    • Turn the Tide Tote
    • The Keep Cool Digital Poster
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    Penguin Playtime (Potter Park Zoo, MI)

    Get up close and personal with a flippered friend and one of its keepers. You and THREE friends will be able to learn what it takes to care for penguins, have your questions answered by an expert, and hang out with a penguin in person. (Reward redeemable until July 2018.)

    Includes:
    • Nest To Meet You Starter Pack
    • #InvestInTheNest Car Decal
    • Turn the Tide Tote
    • The Keep Cool Digital Poster
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    Penguin Playtime (Como Park Zoo, MN)

    Get up close and personal with a flippered friend and one of its keepers. You and THREE friends will be able to learn what it takes to care for penguins, have your questions answered by an expert, and hang out with a penguin in person. (Reward redeemable until July 2018.)

    Includes:
    • Nest To Meet You Starter Pack
    • #InvestInTheNest Car Decal
    • Turn the Tide Tote
    • The Keep Cool Digital Poster
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    Penguin Playtime (Fort Wayne Children's)

    Get up close and personal with a flippered friend and one of its keepers. You and THREE friends will be able to learn what it takes to care for penguins, have your questions answered by an expert, and hang out with a penguin in person. (Reward redeemable until July 2018.)

    Includes:
    • Nest To Meet You Starter Pack
    • #InvestInTheNest Car Decal
    • Turn the Tide Tote
    • The Keep Cool Digital Poster
    Less
    Estimated delivery
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    Limited (1 left of 1) 0 backers
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    Penguin Playtime (Maryland Zoo)

    Get up close and personal with a flippered friend and one of its keepers. You and THREE friends will be able to learn what it takes to care for penguins, have your questions answered by an expert, and hang out with a penguin in person. (Reward redeemable until July 2018.)

    Includes:
    • Nest To Meet You Starter Pack
    • #InvestInTheNest Car Decal
    • Turn the Tide Tote
    • The Keep Cool Digital Poster
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    Penguin Playtime (Dallas Zoo)

    Get up close and personal with a flippered friend and one of its keepers. You and THREE friends will be able to learn what it takes to care for penguins, have your questions answered by an expert, and hang out with a penguin in person. (Reward redeemable until July 2018.)

    Includes:
    • Nest To Meet You Starter Pack
    • #InvestInTheNest Car Decal
    • Turn the Tide Tote
    • The Keep Cool Digital Poster
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only United States
    Limited (2 left of 3) 1 backer
    $
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  28. Select this reward

    Pledge $750 or more About $750

    Penguin Playtime (Memphis Zoo)

    Get up close and personal with a flippered friend and one of its keepers. You and THREE friends will be able to learn what it takes to care for penguins, have your questions answered by an expert, and hang out with a penguin in person. (Reward redeemable until July 2018.)

    Includes:
    • Nest To Meet You Starter Pack
    • #InvestInTheNest Car Decal
    • Turn the Tide Tote
    • The Keep Cool Digital Poster
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    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only United States
    Limited (2 left of 2) 0 backers
    $
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  29. Select this reward

    Pledge $750 or more About $750

    Penguin Playtime (Oregon Zoo)

    Get up close and personal with a flippered friend and one of its keepers. You and THREE friends will be able to learn what it takes to care for penguins, have your questions answered by an expert, and hang out with a penguin in person. (Reward redeemable until July 2018.)

    Includes:
    • Nest To Meet You Starter Pack
    • #InvestInTheNest Car Decal
    • Turn the Tide Tote
    • The Keep Cool Digital Poster
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only United States
    Limited (2 left of 3) 1 backer
    $
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  30. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    Chicago Shindig at the Lincoln Park Zoo

    Rub wings with penguins at the Lincoln Park Zoo. You and THREE friends will get to learn about penguins, see their habitat up close, and even get a personal introduction as they waddle right up to you! (Reward redeemable until July 2018.)

    Includes:
    • Nest To Meet You Starter Pack
    • #InvestInTheNest Car Decal
    • Turn the Tide Tote
    • The Keep Cool Digital Poster
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only United States
    Limited (1 left of 1) 0 backers
    $
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    Pledge $2,500 or more About $2,500

    Members Only Penguin Meet + Greet

    Go backstage at Monterey Bay Aquarium with the penguins and THREE of your friends or family members. You’ll get to see the penguins up close and one of you will even be able to go inside the exhibit to help feed them! You can come back to visit all year, because you’ll also leave with a family membership, and remember your experience with an original piece of penguin art. (Reward redeemable until July 2018.)

    Includes:
    • Nest To Meet You Starter Pack
    • #InvestInTheNest Car Decal
    • Turn the Tide Tote
    • Marine Masterpiece: original (5x7”)
    • The Keep Cool Digital Poster
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only United States
    Limited (2 left of 2) 0 backers
    $
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  32. Select this reward

    Pledge $4,000 or more About $4,000

    Evening with the LA Zoo Elephants

    Your party of 8 people will be invited to an exclusive experience at the LA Zoo: a wine and cheese event in the zoo’s elephant barn after the zoo closes to the public, with a chance to meet the elephants up close and personal. It’s a night you’ll never forget! (Must be redeemed by September 30, 2017 for a mutually agreeable date. Participants must be at least 8 years of age.)

    Includes:
    • Nest To Meet You Starter Pack
    • #InvestInTheNest Car Decal
    • The Pinguin
    • Turn the Tide Tote
    • The Keep Cool Digital Poster
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only United States
    Limited (1 left of 1) 0 backers
    $
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    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    The Best Nest Package

    As a thank you for your generous part in helping save African penguins from extinction, we’ll send you a real, can’t-get-anywhere-else prototype of the same nests we put in the penguins’ colonies.

    Includes:
    • Nest To Meet You Starter Pack
    • #InvestInTheNest Car Decal
    • The Pinguin
    • Turn the Tide Tote
    • Marine Masterpiece: original (5x7”)
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only certain countries
    Limited (3 left of 3) 0 backers
    $
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  34. Select this reward

    Pledge $7,500 or more About $7,500

    Adopt a Nest Package

    Take a whole endangered penguin family under your wing by sponsoring a nest that will be installed in a South African penguin colony. We'll send you a photo of the nest and the family you've adopted, and the details on where they live. Penguins don't speak English, but if they did, they'd say "thank you."

    Includes:
    • Nest To Meet You Starter Pack
    • #InvestInTheNest Car Decal
    • The Pinguin
    • Turn the Tide Tote
    • Marine Masterpiece: original (5x7”)
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited (1 left of 1) 0 backers
    $
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    Pledge $10,000 About $10,000

    True Champion

    You can be the ultimate champion for these birds. The reward is in knowing you've made a tremendous difference (and also your name written on a nest that gets installed at a colony).

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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    5 backers
    $
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  36. All gone!
  37. Reward no longer available

    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    Marine Masterpiece: original (5x7”)

    A one-of-a-kind masterpiece from a Penguin Picasso. A penguin created this incredible painting with its feet and non-toxic paint—and it’s ready to hang on the wall of your own nest!

    Includes:
    • Nest To Meet You Starter Pack
    • #InvestInTheNest Car Decal
    • The Keep Cool Digital Poster
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Reward no longer available 50 backers
    $
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  38. Reward no longer available

    Pledge $400 or more About $400

    Penguin Playtime (Georgia Aquarium)

    Get up close and personal with a flippered friend and one of its keepers. You and a guest will be able to learn what it takes to care for penguins, have your questions answered by an expert, and hang out with a penguin in person. (Reward redeemable until July 2018.)

    Includes:
    • Nest To Meet You Starter Pack
    • #InvestInTheNest Car Decal
    • The Keep Cool Digital Poster
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only United States
    Reward no longer available 1 backer
    $
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  39. Reward no longer available

    Pledge $400 or more About $400

    Penguin Playtime (Minnesota Zoo)

    Get up close and personal with a flippered friend and one of its keepers. You and a guest will be able to learn what it takes to care for penguins, have your questions answered by an expert, and hang out with a penguin in person. (Reward redeemable until July 2018.)

    Includes:
    • Nest To Meet You Starter Pack
    • #InvestInTheNest Car Decal
    • The Keep Cool Digital Poster
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only United States
    Reward no longer available 1 backer