Walking with African Penguins

People who follow me on Facebook know that I love to take my daily walk in Sitka, take pictures, and post them.  I try to walk on vacation as well.  On Tuesday we took a cab to the Cape of Good Hope.  We got a chance to walk a little at different stops but my main walk this day was along a boardwalk at a place called “The Boulders,”  The beach there is a rookery for African Penguins.

Before 1982 there were no penguins at “The Boulders.”  In that year two mating pairs (they mate for life) showed up on the beach and were very prolific.  Now there are over 2,200 birds here.  The breed is African Penguin.  They used to be called Jackass Penguins because of their distinctive and loud braying.  In South America they still Jackasses, but they have other names as well, Magellanic, Humboldt and Galapagos.  We saw Magellanic Penguins in the Straits of Magellan three years ago.  The South American birds are a slightly different species than the African.

There were 1.5 million of this African Penguins at the beginning of the 20th century but taking of eggs depleted their numbers, as did commercial trawling that took the food they depended on.  With the ban on certain trawling the food has come back and so have the penguins.

The Boulders are just south of Simons Town, the main South African Naval Station and the beaches are under naval regulation but are part of Table Mountain National Park.  There is a nice boardwalk to the beach where you can get very close to the penguins.  There are also signboards interpreting the life cycle of the birds and they provide a nice brochure that I have borrowed from for this post.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.