Saturday, October 11, 2014

Fun-Filled Day of Festivities Planned for Simon’s Town Penguin Festival

Western Cape Government
2014 Penguin FestivalSaturday, 11 October is African Penguin Awareness Day – a day dedicated to raising worldwide awareness about the plight of the endangered African penguin. It is often an unknown fact that less than 2% of the African penguin population remains in the wild today.

Together the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB), South African National Parks (SANParks ) and its partners in conservation, are at the forefront of saving the only penguin species to occur naturally on the African continent.

By 2005 the Boulders Beach Penguin Colony in Table Mountain National Park, which was established in 1983, was home to approximately 3 900 African penguins. However, since then there have been fluctuations in numbers with the 2011 figures sitting at 2100 penguins.
Since the early 20th century there have been many reasons for the decline in the numbers of the African penguin, including:
  • The commercial harvesting of penguin eggs.
  • The large-scale harvesting of penguin guano for fertiliser – this destroyed critical penguin nesting material.  
  • Commercial over-fishing, leading to the collapse of fish stocks penguins depend on. 
  • The expansion of human settlements, destroying penguin habitats.
  • Increased shipping, resulting in oil spills off the southern African coastline. 
  • Climate change affecting fish stocks and unseasonable moulting patterns, which result in mass abandonment of African penguin chicks.
  • Discarded plastic, glass, nets and fishing tackle injuring penguins. Pollution remains a huge threat to seabirds.
The SANParks staff perform a vital conservation role in managing one of South Africa’s main African penguin colonies and are instrumental in admitting ill, injured, abandoned and oiled penguins to SANCCOB for rehabilitation and release back into the wild. These continuous conservation efforts have seen the numbers increase to approximately 3100 penguins in 2014. 

The annual Penguin Festival takes place at Boulder's Beach on Saturday 11 October. The aim of the event is to raise funds for the rescue and rehabilitation of African penguins and festival activities include:

The Penguin Beach Release
Time: 10:00 -10:45
Location: Seaforth Beach, Simon’s Town
Get a chance to experience a real-life beach release of African penguins as they waddle their way back into the wild.
With the help of SANParks and its partners, SANCCOB admits close to 1 500 African penguins (and 1 000 other seabirds) for rehabilitation to its centres before releasing them back into to the wild to bolster the wild African penguin population.
This is a popular event for the local residents of Simon’s Town, so it is best to arrive early. Parking can be found at the Seaforth beach parking area.
Penguin Festival 2014
The Penguin Festival Day 
Time: 11:00 – 14:00
Location: Boulders Beach Lodge and Restaurant, Simon’s Town
A fun-filled day of festivities for young and old at the picturesque Boulders Beach. Activities include snake and raptor shows, games for the family, environmental exhibition stalls, raffles, food stalls and a chance to meet SANCCOB’s ambassador penguin.

Visit SANCCOB’s website to find out how you can help strengthen the conservation efforts.




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