Adopt a Penguin

© Lou Sanson / WWF

Adopt a penguin and help protect these taonga species and their habitat.

Thirteen of the world’s 18 penguin species have been recorded in the New Zealand region, including the Ross Dependency (the part of Antarctica that we claim). Nine of these species breed here, including the hoiho (yellow eyed), tawaki (Fiordland crested) and kororā (little penguin) on the mainland. The Snares crested penguin is only found on Snares Islands where they nest in dense colonies under forest.

Black and white is synonymous with penguins, but they can be more colourful. With species sporting yellow eyes, patches and crest feathers and orange bills. The little penguin, the smallest species, goes its own way and is blue.


Around the world penguin populations are facing threats. Some, like the hoiho are already endangered. Other species that were once common, like the little penguin and the chinstrap, are now declining.

Adopt a Penguin - Introduced predators

Introduced predators

For the penguins nesting on the mainland, introduced predators and habitat degradation are a major threat. Predators that may kill penguin chicks or eat their eggs include dog, rats, stoats, and ferrets. Coastal development and the conversion of forest to pasture has also led to the loss of traditional nesting sites.

Adopt a Penguin - Climate change

Climate change

Warming seas are affecting all penguins, but Antarctic species are particularly vulnerable to climate change. Melting sea ice is destroying the habitat of emperor penguins who depend on it for breeding and feeding. The chinstrap and Adélie penguins are also impacted because krill, their main source of food, depend on sea ice.

Adopt a Penguin - Fishing


Penguins are being killed due to commercial fishing. The biggest threat, particularly to yellow-eyed penguins, is from set nets, also called gillnets, walls of fine nylon mesh used to catch fish by the gills. Birds that hunt by diving, like penguins, are unable to see the fine mesh underwater and become entangled and drown.

Your adoption will help

© Bob Zuur/WWF

Support local community conservation projects

Working to restore or protect the habitat of endangered native species, including to restore native habitats and controlling invasive predators. 


Advocate locally and globally for a net-zero, climate-resilient future.

Help people and nature adapt to the changes caused by climate change that are no longer avoidable.