Punta San Juan Program

The Oceanarium is a partner of the Punta San Juan Program


Punta San Juan (PSJ) is a 54 hectare peninsula located on the southern coast of Peru, it is protected by a 1.2 kilometer concrete wall. PSJ is one of the 33 sites a network of sites called: “Reserva Nacional Sistema de Islas, Islotes y Puntas Guaneras” that protects marine biodiversity and stands on the shoulders of the 150+ year old management system of seabird guano  promoted by the Peruvian government.

Punta San Juan (PSJ) supports important populations of emblematic seabirds of the Humboldt Current, such as Humboldt Penguins, Guanay Cormorants, Inca Terns, Peruvian Boobies and Peruvian Pelicans. As well as pinnipeds, such as South American fur seal and South American sea lion. All these species breed and rear their chicks and pups in PSJ, and feed in areas close to the reserve that have nutrient-rich waters due to the upwelling ecosystem of the Humboldt Current System. These species are biological indicators and help us understand the variation of ecological factors over time. The population, behavior and reproduction of these species reflect what is happening in the marine ecosystem.

PSJ is home to Peru’s largest colony of Humboldt penguins, reaching over 7,000 birds in the past 10 years. Here, Humboldt penguins nest on the guano layer that has not been harvested since 1987. This substrate is ideal for Humboldt penguins, providing important properties that enhance breeding success. The proximate location of this protected area means cold and nutrient rich waters where penguins feed. This provide's a suite of conditions that are preferred by Humboldt penguin populations.


  • Since 1980s researchers working in collaboration with Punta San Juan Program investigate how top predators adapt and respond to the dynamic conditions of the marine environment off the coast of Peru. They have contributed with 80+ published scientific articles on the biology, ecology, behavior and health of resident wildlife species. PSJP staff serve on various conservation committees to update the status and include recommend key threat mitigation in species management plans to help conserve these species along the Peruvian coastline. 
  • Since its foundation, capacity building has been at the forefront for PSJP. For many years, research assistants, interns and volunteers have been an important part of our teams helping PSJP collect information and samples in the field while being trained. For example, in the past 7 years, they have trained 58 people in the field as volunteers and interns.
  • Counts, sample collection, following marked individuals, collection information on reproductive behavior are some of the main activities that the on-site personal for the Punta San Juan Program do on a daily basis. This information is analyzed to understand the population dynamics, trophic ecology, population health and breeding success of resident marine mammals and seabirds.
  • PSJP has implemented different projects that involve the local community of Marcona to learn about the biodiversity in their “backyard” Punta San Juan reserve so that they can be local care takers of it. Educational guided tours, events at the  community level and activities with schools have all been a part of this between 2013-2018.


Punta San Juan Program operates thanks to the support of zoological societies from around the globe that want to contribute to conservation in the wild. Since 2000, the sponsorship from zoos and aquariums are the driving force behind the conservation efforts at Punta San Juan Program. Partner institutions participate in planning and supporting the core operations of Punta San Juan Research Station. Their funding covers the annual budget and employs the PSJ Program staff, a qualified team of Peruvians who are committed to conservation of the wildlife at this amazing protected area. 

Bournemouth Oceanarium partnered with PSJ in 2022 which was essential to the PSJ program operations. The Oceanarium raised a whopping $5,000 for PSJ and continues to raise money for these vulnerable penguins with daily charity donations which are encouraged during penguin feeding presentations. The Oceanarium organised several fundraising challenges to help achieve these contributions, including a five-kilometre run in penguin onesies, a chilli sauce challenge, egg roulette and a skydive by our brave keepers! Conservation programmes such as PSJ play a significant role in driving the Oceanarium forward and reflects our passion for wildlife. No matter how small or big the donations are, each one is hugely appreciated as anyone who comes forward helps achieve our goal for this amazing cause.

The Oceanarium is now selling penguin adoption packs to raise further awareness about these vulnerable birds. Find out more information here.


If you would like to donate to this wonderful cause, please email info@oceanarium.co.uk for more information. We thank you for everyone's contributions! 

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