Five uShaka Sea World staff to tackle 120km Penguin Promises Waddle

An intrepid team of 16 marine enthusiasts will start the seventh annual Penguin Promises Waddle for a Week, from Gansbaai to Simon’s Town.

Five uShaka Sea World representatives will be among the “waddlers” this year: Gabby Harris, who will be walking for the seventh time; Colette Bodenstaff, on her second walk; and Martin Reed, Ramini Naidoo and Mbali Mtshali, on their maiden walks.

uShaka Sea World's Ramini Naidoo, Colette Bodenstaff, Martin Reed, Gabby Harris and Dee the penguin. (Image: uShaka Sea World)

“I am so proud to be a part of the Penguin Waddle 2017 team walking the talk with fellow marine enthusiasts. I trust that by participating, I will be able to inspire people to care for the oceans,” says Reed, his sentiment echoed by his colleagues. 

In order to prepare for the physical demands of the journey, the SAAMBR team has been getting together after work to walk along the Durban beachfront promenade.

Departing on 8 May 2017, the waddlers plan to cover 120km over a six-day period, walking an average of 20km a day.

Stopover points will include Stanford, Hermanus, Kleinmond, Gordons Bay and Muizenberg before they reach their final destination, the African penguin (Spheniscus demersus) colony at Boulders Beach in Simon's Town, on 14 May.

The Penguins Promises Waddle for a Week started in 2011 and is a Pan-African Association of Zoos and Aquaria conservation programme, supported by both SAAMBR and the Two Oceans Aquarium, and endorsed by the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

Penguin Promises is an initiative that encourages every individual to make a promise to the penguins – a promise to change something in their daily life to decrease their impact on our environment.

SAAMBR is proud to be one of the founding members of the Waddle, and will be supporting the waddlers on social media over the week.

The African penguin is an endangered species. It is also the only penguin species found on the African continent, between Namibia and Algoa Bay.

The present African penguin population of 23 000 breeding pairs is only 2.3% of the population it was some 80 years ago. Currently, the biggest threats to the species include climate change, habitat degradation, commercial over-fishing, oil and marine pollution, and predation by (among others) Cape fur seals, sharks, feral cats and kelp gulls.

By simply promising to make a change in their daily lives, South Africans can help the African penguin and the environment. Commitment to change should be kept simple and achievable. Examples of meaningful lifestyle changes include “saying no to plastic straws”, “using reusable shopping bags”, “taking quick showers” and “choosing only sustainable seafood” endorsed by the Southern African Sustainable Seafood Initiative.

For more information and to make your penguin promise, visit Penguin Promises.

The route to be followed by the 2017 waddlers. (Image: uShaka Sea World)

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