Recently, I went to show some family the beautiful city of Cape Town in the Western Cape province of South Africa.
Of the many beautiful and insightful things to do there, a visit to Boulders Beach is a must in order to see the endangered African Penguins which have a safe haven in the form of this cordoned off nature reserve.
There is a restricted breeding area where we were fortunate enough to watch a mother warm and care for its young, and a group of young ones obviously trying to learn to swim in the busy surf crashing on some large boulders by the waters edge. It was great to see these animals in action.
Some stay close to the fence line with the boardwalk and it’s a bit disturbing to see how unaffected by humans they are.
They say their vulnerability as a species has been due to habitat destruction, fisheries reducing food supplies, guano collection (which increase their breeding vulnerability) and oil spills as they are flightless birds so have difficulty avoiding them. In June 1994, approx. 10000 penguins were oiled and 50% died.
Human activity again is essentially the cause for the drop in population of these little guys!