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

Those who have never met a penguin will have their chance Jan. 18 at the Hamilton Lane Library.

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.

Burger chain makes Butler County debut at Bridgewater Falls

PHOTOS: See how 1970s Middletown dealt with major snowstorms

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.

About the Author