VIEWS OF BOULDERS BEACH PENGUIN COLONY
African Penguins (Spheniscus Demersus) are often called Jackass Penguins
for the donkey-like braying sounds they make when on land. There are only 16 penguin species worldwide and Simon's Town is one of a total of 28 world penguin sites. The Boulders Beach penguin colony is unique in that they have voluntarily inhabited suburbia and a public bathing space. You can pay to enter the Boulders Beach Penguin Colony and take your swimming costumes - you can swim with penguins at one of the beaches there! Other African Penguin colonies exist on Robben, Dassen and Dyer Islands and at Betty's Bay, but these are not as easily accessible as Boulders Beach.
PENGUIN BREEDING NESTS AT BOULDERS BEACH
Jackass Penguins are birds that are almost totally adapted to life at sea and can spend long periods without landing. They feed on oil-rich pilchards, but have to feed on other fish and squid due to competition from commercial fisheries and increased seal populations. At sea they 'fly' through the water with specially modified wings, and can attain speeds of 2.5km/hr to over 7 km/hr. Unlike whales and seals, penguins do not have blubber to insulate them against the cold, but they have a layer of air trapped beneath their feathers which gets severely damaged when coming into contact with an oil spill.
A PENGUIN CHICK IN MOULTING STAGE WITH PARENTS
Their nests are shallow hollows in soil or stones where usually two eggs are laid. Males and females share breeding and feeding duties. Agile as they are in the sea, so they are clumsy on land, making them vulnerable to exploitation by humans and predators. Early sailors and settlers harvested penguins to eat! Now fully protected by law, the African Jackass Penguins still face numerous threats. Among these
are oil spills from ocean-going ships, which means certain death to thousands of birds if oil is washed into the feeding or breeding areas.
Fortunately, the Southern African National Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB) was formed over 25 years ago to help rescue distressed & oiled penguins.
Over 20 000 penguins were individually caught , hand-washed and fed for 3 weeks in penguin pens successfully in just one oil spill incident. These penguins were then transported by container trucks by road more than 8hours to Port Elizabeth, released to swim back to Cape Town. By which time the oil spill had been cleaned up. Each oiled penguin is tagged after their wash so that they can be monitored in future. "Peter & Percy & Pamela" were 3 very special oiled penguins that were given satellite packs attached to their backs and released from Port Elizabeth. They were tracked by satellite as they made their way back down the coast to their original breeding ground, where the penguin colony re-established itself.
Follow other African Penguin news at www.sanccob.co.za
SANCCOB Centre at No.20 Pentz Drive, Tableview, Cape Town, South Africa operates a rescue and rehabilitation centre for injured seabirds.
SANCCOB is funded solely by membership fees and public donations, and has been scientifically proved to be the most successful sea bird rehabilitation centre in the world, where birds are captured and stabilised before being washed and treated. SANCCOB is open to booked tours only Ph: 021 557 6155
Visits during daily feeding times can be arranged.