An African penguin like this one, also known as a jackass penguin because it brays like a donkey, will meet the public this month at Hamilton’s Lane Library. PROVIDED

Your chance to meet an African penguin up close comes this week in Hamilton

If they’re lucky, they may hear the African penguin bray like a donkey, the reason they’re also known as jackass penguins (otherwise known as black-footed penguin).

Visitors to the 2-3 p.m. program at the library, 300 N. Third St., Hamilton, also will learn why these interesting and athletic birds were officially named an endangered species in 2010. Families are invited. Registration is required and can be done at or 513-894-1409.

These penguins, which live along the southern tip of Africa, were reclassified from vulnerable endangered in 2010. They face many threats, most notably industrial fishing, which has been devastating to their populations. They also face threats of garbage, pollution, egg harvesting, oil spills and human disturbance. Jackals, hyenas, sharks and even domestic cats also pose threats, according to

The birds, which weigh 5.25-9 pounds, can dive as deep as 328 feet in 50 seconds, and can remain submerged as long as 142 seconds as needed.

The penguin will come from Newport Aquarium. Erin Shultz, conservation education manager for the WAVE Foundation at the aquarium will offer the program. WAVE Foundation is a non-profit organization that works with the aquarium to offer conservation, education and volunteer efforts of both organizations, Shultz said.

At the event, visitors can take their turns meeting a penguin.