On Saturday, 28 October 2017, the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB) and CapeNature jointly hosted its second Penguin Palooza at the Stony Point Nature Reserve in Betty’s Bay.
The annual event formed part of various African Penguin awareness activities in October that celebrate an iconic species and also emphasises the need for collective action to conserve this endangered seabird. The event kicks off at 10h00 with a public beach release of African Penguins – rehabilitated and hand-reared at SANCCOB’s Table View centre.
The Penguin Palooza is a fun-filled family day with a market presented by the local and surrounding Betty’s Bay communities. On the day, environmental and educational activities will be geared toward raising awareness about the plight of the African Penguin, the only Penguin species to naturally occur on the African continent.
Dr Razeena Omar, Chief Executive Officer of CapeNature, the management authority of the penguin colony, will be among the staff and volunteers to tip one of the boxes for the release. She says “It’s always a pleasure working with organisations like SANCCOB and to have the opportunity to be part of the rehabilitation process. This year we are particularly excited to have celebrity TV Personality Jade Hubner, Adventure Blogger Adam Spires and Ward Councillor Fanie Krige form part of the initiative to spread awareness in saving this endangered seabird.”
Families can look forward to a fulfilled day with plenty to do and see. Activities include the Mooi Uitsig arts and crafts project with local community children, jams and boerewors rolls on sale and an educational scavenger hunt.
The African Penguin population has decreased by almost 98% over the past century and less than 23 000 breeding pairs remain in the wild in South Africa and Namibia. SANCCOB, CapeNature and its conservation partners are at the forefront of saving the African Penguin. The Stony Point Nature Reserve has been managed by CapeNature since 2014. In comparison to declining populations on most island colonies, the Stony Point land-based penguin colony is the third largest breeding colony of African Penguins in the world and has been showing a measurable increase in breeding pairs. In 2010, when it was officially declared endangered on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, there were approximately 1 244 breeding pairs resident in the colony. Today, the number has increased considerably and the colony is home to approximately 2 388 breeding pairs.
Francois Louw, SANCCOB’s fundraising and marketing manager, says, “SANCCOB actively works with conservation partners and colony managers such as CapeNature to save seabirds in distress, having admitted nearly 100 000 seabirds since 1968. Stony Point and Boulders Beach have the biggest African Penguin colonies in Cape Town, and are crucial locations to protect and ensure the survival of the species.”