11 April 2012

Facts about the African penguin

Renée Leeuwner

The gorgeous, endemic African penguin is in big trouble. Scientists believe this endangered marine bird will be extinct in the wild within 15 years. On 16 April, Two Oceans Aquarium Senior Bird Trainer Hayley McLellan and a flock of intrepid penguin lovers will set off on the second Waddle for a Week campaign, in honour of the African penguin.

What is the Waddle?

Our first Waddle for a Week campaign in 2011 – in support of the endangered African penguin (you can a visit a few of these beautiful birds right here at the Sappi River Meander) – was such a success that we are running it again in 2012. Animal keepers across the country have started training for the 130km waddle, which starts in Gansbaai (Dyer Island colony) and ends in Simonstown (Boulders Beach colony).

The good news is that anyone can join this fantastic campaign. The dates for this year are 16 to 21 April when you can waddle with us for a week, a day or an hour. If quick, smart action is not taken we could be saying goodbye to this African icon, endemic to southern Africa, within the next 15 years as yet another species slides into extinction…

Let’s not let this happen! Be a part of the solution by visiting www.penguinpromises.com and getting involved however you can. Contact Two Oceans Aquarium Senior Bird Trainer Hayley McLellan on hayley.mclellan@aquarium.co.za for more information.

Read more about last year’s Waddle here.

Raise your voice for the African penguin

The Waddle for a Week route – join us!

Support the Penguin Promises Waddle for a Week campaign by going to www.penguinpromises.com and pledging your behaviour changing promise.

Join the waddlers on the last day (21 April) at 09h00 at Surfer’s Corner in Muizenberg. They will walk to Simon’s Town (15km). Wear black and white and show your support!

Tell other people – use your voice to let others know about the plight of the African penguin.

If we don’t do something to save this species now, when will we?

Did you know?

  • Currently, only about 60 000 African penguins are left in the wild.

  • Between 1900 and 1930, about 13-million penguin eggs were collected for human consumption. This practice was only stopped in 1967.
  • Penguins re-colonised Robben Island in 1983, after an absence of almost 180 years.
  • The first penguins to call Boulder’s Beach “home” were spotted on the beach in 1985.
  • During the 2000 Treasure oil spill, 18 516 oiled birds were rescued from Robben and Dassen Islands. There was a mortality rate of only 10.3% – a vast improvement on previous rescues.
 A total of 12 000 volunteers worked 556 000 hours during the rescue operation.
  • Scientists believe that the endangered African penguin will be extinct in the wild within 15 years.

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