The Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB) and CapeNature will be hosting the second Penguin Palooza at Stony Point Nature Reserve in Betty’s Bay on Saturday, 28 October.
The annual event is part of a few African Penguin awareness activities in October that celebrate an iconic species. The day also helps emphasise the need for action in the conservation of this endangered seabird.
Kicking off at 10am, the public beach release will see rehabilitated and hand-reared African Penguins swim off into the sea. The fun-filled family day offers a local market, as well as environmental and educational activities geared towards raising awareness about the African Penguin.
Chief Executive Officer of CapeNature, Dr Razeena Omar, will be one of 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 a 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.”
SANCCOB and CapeNature are at the forefront of saving the African Penguin. The penguins population has decreased by almost 98% over the past century, with less than 23 000 breeding pairs left in the wild in South Africa and Namibia.
Managed by CapeNature since 2014, the Stony Point land-based penguin colony is the third largest breeding colony of African Penguins in the world. In 2010 The breed was officially declared endangered on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. There were 1 244 breeding pairs then, but today the number has increased to approximately 2 388 breeding pairs.
SANCCOB’s fundraising and marketing manager, Francois Louw, said: “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.”
The Penguin Palooza starts at 10am until 2pm, with the first 100 attendees granted free access, courtesy of CapeNature. Admission to the colony is R20 thereafter, and access to the festival area is free.