Please view the main text area of the page by skipping the main menu.

Japanese aquarium seeks funds for 4 aging penguins that cost $2,600 a month to keep

African penguins at the center of a fund drive are seen at the Susami Municipal Aquarium of Crab and Shrimp in Wakayama Prefecture on May 12, 2021. (Mainichi/Yukihiro Takeuchi)

SUSAMI, Wakayama -- An aquarium in this west Japan town has launched a fundraising campaign to support four aging penguins it received from another aquarium that closed its doors earlier this year.

    It apparently costs some 300,000 yen (about $2,600) per month for the Susami Municipal Aquarium of Crab and Shrimp to keep the four African penguins, which are between 22 and 29 years old. The average lifetime for African penguins is about 25 years, and the birds are said to be in their 70s to 80s in human terms.

    In addition to an outside veterinarian's checkup and blood test every month, the penguins are given medications to maintain their normal liver function and to reduce inflammation on the bottoms of their feet. Food costs and other expenses add to the bill. The aquarium decided to launch the fundraising campaign because its burden is getting bigger while its revenue decreases amid the coronavirus pandemic.

    "Please cooperate with us because we want to expand their lifespan even if only by a little," a representative of the facility said.

    The penguins, three male and one female, were transferred from another aquarium in central Japan's Mie Prefecture in May after it closed.

    All donations will be used to look after the birds. There are two donation options: 1,000 yen (approx. $8.80) or 5,000 yen (roughly $44). All donors will receive a penguin feather in a case in return. Those who donate 5,000 yen will also receive two 50%-off annual passes to the facility.

    Over a period of about 10 days after the campaign was launched at the end of November, some 40 donations -- totaling 70,000 yen (about $620) -- had apparently been made.

    Natsumi Tsujio, 29, an aquarium employee in charge of keeping the animals, said: "This is a serious issue because the costs accumulate every month. We need help."

    Donations are being accepted at the aquarium and via its online store at:

    For more information, contact the facility by phone at 0739-58-8007 (in Japanese).

    (Japanese original by Yukihiro Takeuchi, Tanabe Local Bureau)

    Also in The Mainichi

    The Mainichi on social media