Monday, September 14, 2009

The endangered African penguin

Sita is really excited today because we are at Boulders Beach, to see some gorgeous guys in their tuxedoes.

Whom am I talking about??

The Boulders Beach penguins of course....they are about as famous as birds can be!!

Nopi and Marti simply cannot resist their waddling ways. Just look at them walk....ooooh, they are too cute!

Most of the year the penguins are either moulting or breeding.

Penguins feed at sea for much of September and October so the number of birds on the beach is lower......but normally there are about 3000 on this beach.

Did you know that the African penguin used to be called jackass penguin, because of the donkey-like sound it makes on land??

The penguins from this growing colony allow for close encounters with these famous sea birds - and we have fallen hopelessly in love with them...

The story of the African penguins ( at Boulders Beach is one of remarkable urban colonisation, but the species as a whole faces many threats and these aquatic flightless birds are listed as endangered.

The story of the penguin colony in Cape Town started in 1983 when a pair was spotted on Foxy Beach at Boulders.

Since then the colony has grown rapidly and now totals about 3 000 Boulders Beach penguins.

The birds came to False Bay from Dyer Island after the reduction in commercial pelagic trawling, which has increased the supply of pilchards and anchovy - part of the penguins' diet.

The birds inhabit 27 sites, most of which are inshore islands like Robben Island.

They are particularly vulnerable to humans.

From the time of the first Dutch settlement at the Cape in 1652, penguins were an invaluable addition to the settlers' food supply.

Oil spills and declining food resources have decreased the numbers dramatically from millions in the 1930s to under 180 000 now.

Boulders Beach remains the only place in the world where one can swim amongst the penguins and so of course Nopi, Marti, Jarca and Sita have just dived in. Wow, what great fun!!

Yes, Marti, they are remarkably untroubled by people, but don't harass them or get too close.
They look cute and cuddly but their beaks are sharp and if they feel threatened they will peck you!

What an enjoyable experience this has been....we would all like to take them home as pets!!

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