Do the penguin waddle

2015-10-13 06:00

On Saturday facilities around the world, including the Two Oceans Aquarium, will be celebrating African Penguin Awareness Day.

The endangered African penguin is found only along the Southern African coastline.

A number of activities will take place at the Aquarium on the day to celebrate.

A mini Penguin Waterfront Waddle will kick things off. This year, the 2.5km route will amble through the Waterfront, starting and finishing at the Aquarium. All participants are encouraged to wear black and white in support of the penguins and to join the festivities from 08:30 for complimentary beverages. The waddle will start at 09:00. Waddlers are also encouraged to bring their own water, as bottled water is not encouraged.

Samantha, the Aquarium’s penguin mascot, will make an appearance and members of the Aquarium will have the opportunity to see the movie City slickers – A tale of two African penguins.

The African penguin is endemic to Southern Africa and the only penguin species found on the continent. They are only found from the Namibian coast in the west, to Algoa Bay in the east. These charismatic, flightless birds are classified as endangered according to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

It is estimated that, at the turn of the century, the African penguin population numbered approximately 1.5m.

These enigmatic birds face extinction in the wild as their numbers continue to decline dramatically, with just over 18 000 breeding pairs left in South Africa.

Loss of food source due to overfishing, climate change and habitat destruction are just some of the factors taking their toll.

African penguins feed mainly on small, shoaling fish like pilchards and anchovies. This puts them in direct competition with humans. Studies have found that African penguins have to travel further and further away from their colonies in search of food. This is detrimental to penguin chicks as they rely on their parents for food and protection. The adult penguins are also suffering, as they have to consume enough fish to sustain them as well as their chicks.

For more information about the celebrations of African Penguin Day at the Two Oceans Aquarium visit www.aquarium.co.za.

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