Dogs are penguins’ ‘worst enemy’

2015-10-13 06:00

Following the recent discovery of another 22 African penguins killed just north of Seaforth Beach near Simon’s Town, the City of Cape Town will be upping its penguin protection between Seaforth Beach and Franks Bay.

Since the beginning of the year, 42 endangered African penguins have been killed by dogs.

This is a substantial loss to the penguin breeding population in Simon’s Town and the situation cannot be allowed to continue, says Johan van der Merwe, mayoral committee member for energy, environmental and spatial planning.

“The City is continually trying to find an appropriate balance between protecting the African penguin, while at the same time not over-regulating human recreation in the area. To curb further penguin incidents, two additional full-time penguin monitors will be employed to boost the capacity of the four monitors who are already working in the area. The funding for these monitors has been provided by Shark Explorers and the Simon’s Town Boat Company,” he says.

The penguin monitors will patrol the area from sunrise to sunset on a full-time basis from November to the end of January. Visitors are advised to heed their requests and instructions.

Burghers’ Walk will be reopened to dogs but leashes are mandatory. Ongoing non-compliance with this requirement will result in the permanent closure of Burghers’ Walk to all dogs.

The sand area of Windmill Beach remains a free-running beach for dogs. However, dog owners must ensure that their dogs are under control at all times and that they do not approach or harass penguins. Repeated non-compliance can result in an end to the free-running status.

Camera traps will be installed in the entire area to monitor attacks on penguins.

The African penguin is currently listed as endangered, with a steady decline in numbers over the past decade. The overall population of the species is estimated to be a mere 2.5% of its population level some eighty years ago.

Members of the public who observe unaccompanied dogs in the Burghers’ Walk area are urged to report this to City law enforcement on 021 596 1999

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