Call to Earth

These little ceramic huts are helping endangered penguins and their chicks

Editor’s Note: Call to Earth is a CNN editorial series committed to reporting on the environmental challenges facing our planet, together with the solutions. Rolex’s Perpetual Planet initiative has partnered with CNN to drive awareness and education around key sustainability issues and to inspire positive action.

CNN  — 

A new form of real estate is popping up along the beaches of South Africa and on the dry, barren islands off its coast – tiny white beach huts. With good ventilation and a sea view, they are just big enough to fit a family of African penguins. Their unique selling point: a safe and cool place for penguins to breed.

African penguins, unlike their relatives that live in snow and ice, thrive in the cold currents of the South Atlantic Ocean. But when they come to land, their thick black coat absorbs the heat, and they desperately look for cover – both for themselves and their fragile eggs.

A curious penguin pokes its head out of its new artificial nest.