Zoo relies on public donations after retailer, whose Christmas ad is about boy seeking friend for his lonely penguin, disappoints
The Guardian, Thursday 27 November 2014 16.32 GMT
When Bristol Zoo urgently needed help to raise money for orphaned penguins this Christmas a large retailer that based its festive promotion around a lonely, flightless bird with a fondness for fish, seemed the obvious choice. But then came the twist: the company, John Lewis, said no.
Bristol Zoological Society this month started an appeal for £20,000 to help care for African penguin chicks abandoned by their parents and being cared for at a rehabilitation centre in South Africa, a project led by the zoo.
The species, commonly known as the jackass penguin, is endangered. The bird’s population fell 70% between 2001 and 2013 and fewer than 18,000 breeding pairs are left in the wild off the South African and Namibian coast. A lack of action could end in extinction, the zoo says.
Every year many chicks are abandoned by parents foraging for food. The Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds, outside Cape Town, usually takes in about 450 over a three-month period. But this year the centre has seen 460 arrive in November alone.