Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Cape Town's penguin protection measures working

Penguins walk in a line at Boulders beach in Simon's Town. (AP)
Penguins walk in a line at Boulders beach in Simon's Town. (AP)

Cape Town – The interventions to protect African penguins at hotspots in the Simon's Town area are paying off, the Cape Town’s environmental department said on Monday.

In August, the department placed a temporary ban on dogs between Burghers’ Walk and Links Crescent, after a number of African penguins were killed.

"We are also pleased with the effectiveness of the penguin monitors who are ensuring that the penguins are not harassed in any way by visiting members of the public. The African penguin is our shared heritage and its survival in an urban environment requires a joint effort," spokesperson Gregg Oelofse said in a statement.

Since the City’s introduction of additional penguin protection measures on November 1, and thanks to the cooperation of dog walkers and members of the public, no further penguin fatalities had occurred along the identified spots in the area, he said.

The penguin monitors would continue to patrol the area on a full-time basis until January 31. It was also mandatory for all dogs to be on leashes along Burgher's Walk. Windmill Beach (the sand area only) remained a free-running beach for dogs.

According to the statement, recent nest counts of breeding penguins indicated that of the 982 nests counted, 109 nests were located just along Burghers’ Walk and the areas immediately south of Burghers’ Walk.

Camera traps remained in the entire area to monitor attacks on penguins.
The African penguin is currently listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. There has been a steady decline in numbers over the past decade.

The overall population of this species is estimated to be a mere 2.5% of its population level some eight decades ago, the statement read.


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