Waddling in support of penguins

2016-04-19 06:00
Photo: supplied Leandra Paverd and Presha Soogrim with Dee (an African penguin) and her waddling boots.

Photo: supplied Leandra Paverd and Presha Soogrim with Dee (an African penguin) and her waddling boots.

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USHAKA Sea World staff members, Leandra Paverd and Presha Soogrim, have recently taken up the Penguin Waddle 2016 challenge and will be joining 14 other penguin lovers, in a walk – or waddle – from Gansbaai to Simon’s Town, all in honour of the endangered, endemic African penguin.

Starting at sunrise on Monday, 11 April these passionate conservationists walked an average of 20km per day for six days and passed through Hermanus, Kleinmond, Gordons Bay and Muizenberg, with their journey that ended on Saturday, 16 April at the Boulders Beach penguin colony in Simon’s Town.

The 14 other conservationists accompanying them for this Penguin Promises Waddle for a Week event were members of the uShaka Sea World team as well as those from around the country.

Paverd and Soogrim, both 25 , are in their final year of nature conservation studies. To prepare for the waddle walked along the uShaka Beach promenade.

Working with mammals and birds at uShaka, Paverd is outspoken about the effects of plastic pollution. She hopes to encourage her fellow South Africans to say “no thanks, I have my own” when offered a plastic shopping bag.

Soogrim, a marine educator at uShaka Sea World, hoped that by taking the approximately 240 000 steps, she inspired others to take small everyday steps to help heal and protect the marine environment. Being a vegan with loads of meat-free recipes and ideas, she promotes a culture of eating less meat and endorses the meat free Monday initiative.

“Lowering our carbon footprint is good for penguins and what’s good for penguins is good for people,” she says.

The endangered African penguin is only found along the southern African coastline. They occur nowhere else in the world. Their distribution stretches from Namibia in the west, to Algoa Bay in the east. These birds face extinction in the wild as their numbers continue to decline dramatically.

South Africans can help the African penguin by visiting www.pen guinpromises.com and choosing one or more of the listed suggestions and you will be on your way.

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