Penguins and their monitors a great team

2015-05-12 06:00
African penguins, successfully rehabilitated, were released back into the wild at Burgher’s Walk near Boulders Beach.

African penguins, successfully rehabilitated, were released back into the wild at Burgher’s Walk near Boulders Beach.

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Penguin monitors at Burgher’s Walk have been given a boost after the donation of new boots, gloves and a brush cutter – essential tools in their work with their African penguin “work mates”.

To celebrate the donation, four African penguins that were successfully rehabilitated were released back into the wild at Burgher’s Walk.

A unique conservation project here is helping to conserve the endangered African penguin population nesting in the Burgher’s Walk area next to popular Boulders Beach in Simon’s Town.

The Burgher’s Walk restoration project helps to employ four permanent penguin-conservation staff, known as penguin monitors, who manage the area.

The project was initiated by Sanparks, the City of Cape Town and the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB). It is protecting the resident penguin population from the curious public, predation by domestic animals and from being run over by cars.

From an estimated one million breeding pairs in the 1930s, less than 2% of the African penguin population remains in the wild today. Habitat destruction remains one of the leading threats to the species.

Before 2011, the Burgher’s Walk area was open to large groups of tourists who had unrestricted access to the area. A significant increase in visitor numbers over the years resulted in penguin nests being trampled, penguins being disturbed year-round and increased soil erosion in the area. Penguins were also at risk of being attacked by domestic animals and often cases were reported of penguins being hit by speeding vehicles along the road above the site. A boardwalk has been constructed, rehabilitation fencing has been erected and the natural vegetation of the area has been restored

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