Celebrate African Penguin Awareness Day on 11 October

African Penguin Awareness Day (APAD) will be celebrated once again this year on the 11th October. Aday dedicated to raising worldwide awareness about the plight of the endangered African penguin, it isoften an unknown fact thatless than 2% of the African penguin population remain in the wild today. Together, SANCCOB (the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds), SANParks (South African National Parks) and its partners in conservation are at the forefront of saving the only penguin species to occur naturally on the African continent.

African Penguin Awareness Day

African Penguin Awareness Day

Bring your family, friends and colleagues to the Penguin Festival in Simon’s Town on Saturday, 11 October 2014 and celebrate the charismatic African penguin, with an array of stalls on display and fun activities to partake in:

Penguin Beach Release
Date: 11 October 2014
Time: 10h00-10h45
Location: Seaforth Beach, Simon’s Town

Penguin Beach Release - 11 October 2014

Penguin Beach Release – 11 October 2014

Experience a real-life beach release of African penguins as they waddle their way back into the wild. With the help of SANParks and its partners, SANCCOB admits close to 1500 African penguins (and a 1 000 other seabirds) for rehabilitation to its centres and release them back into to the wild to boslter the wild African penguin population. Get a chance to see this moving event first-hand on African Penguin Awareness Day. Parking can be found at the Seaforth beach parking area. A popular event for the local residents of Simon’s Town – it is best to arrive early.

Penguin Festival
Date: 11 October 2014
Time: 11h00-14h00
Location: Boulders Beach Lodge and Restaurant, Simon’s Town

Penguin FestivalA fun-filled day of festivities for young and old – located at the picturesque Boulders Beach. Activities include snake and raptor shows, games for the family, environmental exhibition stalls, raffles, food stalls and a chance to meet SANCCOB’s ambassador penguin. One of the higlights of the day:  a SASSI sustainable seafood braai by contestants from The Ultimate Braai Mastersponsored by Pick ‘n Pay. The festival and its various activities can be found at the parking area at the end of Bellevue Road, Simon’s Town.

The status of the African penguin:
Less than 2% of the African penguin population remain in the wild. From an estimated 1 million breeding pairs in the 1930s to less than 18 000 in 2014, the African penguin population was reclassified as endangered in 2010. The Boulders Beach Penguin Colony in Table Mountain National Park (SANParks) houses approximately 3069 African penguins. The SANParks staff perform a vital conservation role in managing one of South Africa’s main African penguin colonies and are instrumental in admitting ill, injured, abandoned and oiled penguins to SANCCOB for rehabilitation and release back into the wild.

Reason for the decline of the African penguin:

Early 20th century

  • Penguin eggs were commercially harvested as a delicacy.
  • Large-scale harvesting of penguin guano for fertilizer destroyed critical penguin nesting material.
  • SANCCOB founder, Althea Westphal, was instrumental in halting these devastating practices.

Late 20th century

  • Commercial over-fishing lead to the collapse of fish stocks which penguins depend on.
  • Expanding human settlements destroyed penguin habitats.
  • Predation on penguins by seals, sharks and land-based animals.
  • Increased shipping resulted in oil spills off the southern African coastline.
  • SANCCOB responded to every major oil spill off the southern African coastline and rehabilitated thousands of oiled penguins.

21st century

  • Oil spills remain a major threat to penguins. In 2000, the Treasure Oil spill captured the world’s attention as 40 000 penguins were put at risk. SANCCOB and partners successfully executed the biggest wildlife rescue in the world.
  • Climate change affects fish stocks and unseasonable moulting patterns which result in mass abandonment of African penguin chicks.
  • Discarded plastic, glass, nets and fishing tackle injure penguins. Pollution remains a huge threat to seabirds.

What can you do to help?
There are a few ways in which the public can help in the conservation of African penguins:

  • Adopt and name an African penguin by visiting www.sanccob.co.za
  • Report injured penguins and/or oiled birds to SANCCOB by calling (021) 557 6155
  • Donate to SANCCOB online at www.sanccob.co.za
  • Visit SANCCOB’s online shop for penguin goodies at www.sanccob.co.za
  • Volunteer at SANCCOB by emailing volunteers@sanccob.co.za
  • Download African penguin posters at www.sanccob.co.za/events and put them in your classroom, in your office, your local community board or up on your fridge.

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