About 80 people in penguin costumes took to the streets of Simon’s Town on Saturday for a “waddle” to show their support for the endangered African penguin.
October 14 is International African Penguin Awareness Day, and similar waddles were held around the world.
The Two Oceans Aquarium, in support of the Not On Our Watch African penguin survival campaign, led waddles through the V&A Waterfront precinct and from Simon’s Town to Boulders Beach – the home of about 9% of the African penguin population.
Not On Our Watch was launched at the beginning of March to raise awareness of the plight of the African penguin, the only penguin species found on the African continent.
In just 100 years, African penguin numbers have dwindled from over 1.5 million to fewer than 10 000 pairs today, according to Two Oceans Aquarium spokeswoman Heather Wares
“Their situation is dire, and while many incredible organisations work to ensure their survival, the African penguin still needs public support to ensure that it receives the needed policies and protections to avoid extinction,” she said.
Dr Judy Mann, head of strategic projects at the Two Oceans Aquarium Foundation, stressed the need for public action to ensure the African penguin’s survival.
“While many people and organisations are dedicated to the survival of the African penguin, and their incredible commitment and hard work must be commended, saving a species needs action on the ground, the support of people, and actionable legislation. To date, there has not been a public action campaign for the African penguin… If their decline continues at the current rate, these charismatic birds could be functionally extinct in the wild within 15 to 20 years.“