African Penguin Awareness Waddle starts in Gansbaai

uShaka waddlers Paul Lotter, Jane Dlamini and Gabby Harris

For the third consecutive year, a group of marine enthusiasts began their waddle for a week over 130km from Gansbaai to Boulders Beach in Simon's Town, to raise awareness for the endangered African penguin.

Early on Monday 22 April, five uShaka Sea World staff joined peers from the Two Oceans Aquarium at the start of their long journey, in which they plan to walk an average of 20km a day, arriving in Simon's Town on Saturday, 27 April 2013.

Appropriately dressed in black and white to mimic the penguins, the placard-waving waddlers aim to attract attention and create awareness of the plight of the African penguin (Spheniscus demersus), and how it might be helped.

A decision was taken in 2010 to commit to an annual ocean awareness initiative and since the African penguin was recently declared endangered, it was decided that the initiative would focus on generating awareness for this threatened endemic bird.

uShaka staff with African penguins

Humans are responsible for most of the penguins' problems, which is why we have a responsiblity to fix them. The penguin awareness campaign calls on all South Africans to make changes in their daily lives that will effect positive change in the marine environment.

A dedicated website offers suggestions on everyday changes people can make, which would, if adopted as a way of life in South Africa, go a long way towards ensuring a healthy marine ecosystem.

African penguins are not found anywhere else in the world except Southern Africa, and their numbers are plummeting at an alarming rate. Currently it is estimated that their numbers are lower than 60 000, which is just less than half of the total population figure 10 years ago. The African penguin faces extinction within the next 15-25 years should environmental conditions not improve.

There are many possible reasons for their recent decline, which include: depletion of fish stocks due to overfishing, climate change, pollution and habitat destruction. The waddlers aim to inspire change by making a plea on behalf of the penguins for the love and respect they need. They invite anyone living along the route to join them for a day, or even a short distance of their long walk.

For more information, visit or contact Ann Kunz on or 031 328 8152.

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