22 May 2011

Waddle you do for the African Penguin?

Renée Leeuwner

Two Oceans Aquarium Assistant Communications and Sustainability Manager Renée Leeuwner is a keen blogger, a member of the Aquarium’s Green Team and the voice behind our Twitter profile. Renée has joined Two Oceans Aquarium Senior Bird Trainer Hayley McLellan and uShaka Marine World’s Gabby Harris as they Waddle for the African penguin; she’ll be live-blogging and tweeting about the Waddle on the road!

African penguins are special. There’s no denying it. They have a comical walk and are often referred to as the birds that wear tuxedos. They bray like donkeys and mate for life. They cannot fly but when they swim, they can reach speeds of up to 20km per hour. Sadly these amazing birds are facing extinction.

Photo courtesy pimgmx

With only about 60 000 of them left in the wild, they face an uncertain tomorrow. African penguin numbers have declined by 80% since the 1950s and, in the last decade, their numbers have dropped at a rate of 60%. African penguins have been classified as endangered and unless we intervene very quickly, within about 15 years, we will not be able to see these African icons in the wild. 

African penguins occur nowhere else in the world but the along coast of southern Africa. Can you imagine visiting Boulder’s Beach and not seeing any penguins? Without penguins, it will just not be the same.

What can you do to help?

A colony of African penguins at Stony Point. Photo courtesy Stephen A Wolfe

Join us!

Yesterday, on 22 May, a group of intrepid waddlers set off from Gansbaai to walk to Simon’s Town to raise awareness for the African penguin as part of the Penguin Waddle campaign. This route connects three of the remaining African penguin colonies around the southern African coastline.

Read more about the Waddle and see the waddle route here.

The group’s starting point, Gansbaai, is also the home to the Dyer Island colony of African penguins. The second colony can be found at Stony Point in Betty’s Bay, and the third at Boulders Beach in Simon’s Town – all stops on the Waddle route.

On 28 May, the waddlers will be walking from Muizenberg to Simon’s Town and would love for as many people as possible to join them on the last leg of their journey. The waddlers will set off from Surfers’ Corner at approximately 08h00, to arrive in Simon’s Town at about 12h00.

Pledge your support and join us in raising awareness about the African penguin. We hope that you will be able to join us on our walk and will add your voice and promise to ensure the survival of the African penguin.

The Penguin Waddle campaign would like to thank everyone who has jumped in and already pledged support of this project.

A special thanks to some of the sponsors

These penguins are waddling for themselves! Photo courtesy travfotos
  • Two Oceans Aquarium
  • uShaka Marine World
  • Powerade
  • Hi-Tec
  • Boulders Beach Lodge
  • The Great Whitehouse
  • Windsor Hotel
  • Mosaic Farm
  • Bayside Beach House
  • Arabella Western Cape Hotel
  • Whale Watchers
  • Afromedia
  • SRE Developments
  • 5fm’s DJ Fresh
  • AKAA
  • PAAZAB
  • NZG
  • SANParks
  • BirdLife
  • SANCCOB
  • Dyer Island Conservation Trust
  • Penguin Watch
  • Cape Storm
  • Cape Point Route
  • Body & Mind

And a big thank you to all the other supporters, fans and Waddle enthusiasts that have pledged, promised and worked for hours on end to get this project waddling!

Together we can make a difference.

More blogs about the African penguin

Show some love for the African penguin. Photo courtesy Paul Mannix

More blogs by Renée

Photo courtesy John & Mel Kots
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