The aptly named Chick Bolstering Project, a collaboration between the South African government, South African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds and other organizations, might be considered one of the most directly effective conservation research projects around. In the past six months, the project has rescued over 800 endangered African penguin chicks, while also studying the species's foraging behavior.
According to Grist, African penguins face a number of different environmental threats that have necessitated human intervention, which proves to be boosting numbers steadily:
In the past 80 years, [the penguins'] population has shrunk 97.5 percent, because overfishing has eliminated their food and unusually cold weather puts 'em on ice... In this most recent case, parent African penguins were abandoning their little ones because the babies were too small or sick. The Chick Bolstering Project hand-rears the chicks, helps them bulk up a little, and releases them three months later.