‘Waddling’ for a good penguin cause

2016-04-13 06:00
Leandra Paverd (left) and Presha Soogrim with Dee, an African penguin, and their waddling boots.  Photo: supplied

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

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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 will walk an average of 20km per day for six days and will pass through Hermanus, Kleinmond, Gordons Bay and Muizenberg, with their journey set to end on Saturday, 16 April at the Boulders Beach penguin colony in Simon’s Town.

The 14 conservationists accompanying them for this Penguin Promises Waddle for a Week event, are other members of the uShaka Sea World team as well as those from around the country – all committed to highlighting the easy steps the public can take in our daily lives to use less natural resources.

Paverd and Soogrim, both 25, are in their final year of nature conservation studies and are passionate uShaka Sea World staff members. To prepare for their upcoming waddle, they have been enjoying evening strolls along the uShaka Beach promenade.

Working with the mammals and birds at uShaka Sea World, Paverd is outspoken about the effects of plastic pollution and hopes to encourage fellow South Africans to say “no thanks, I have my own” when offered a plastic shopping bag.
She keeps several shopping bags in the boot of her car so that she is always prepared for scheduled and unscheduled shopping trips.

Soogrim, a marine educator at uShaka Sea World, hopes that by taking the approximately 240 000 steps, she will inspire 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 hopes to promote 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 charismatic birds face extinction in the wild as their numbers continue to decline dramatically.

How can South Africans help the African penguin? It is easy to get involved, simply take the first step and visit www.penguinpromises.com and choose one or more of the listed suggestions, and you will be on your way. - Supplied.

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