The Two Oceans Aquarium led a waddle through the V&A Waterfront On Saturday, October 14, in support of the Not On Our Watch (#NOOW) African penguin survival campaign.
People came dressed in black and white, holding placards to create awareness.
Another waddle also took place on the same day, from Simon’s Town to Boulders Beach – the home of about 9% of the African penguin population.
“This was a fantastic morning for the African penguin. The #NOOW campaign strives to create a movement to create awareness of the plight of the African penguin and turn that awareness into action. The waddles, which took to the streets in countries on five continents, were a first step to get the public aware and involved, said Heather Wares, communications manager at the aquarium.
The aim of the waddle is to raise awareness around the plight of African penguins and their rapid decline in numbers. African penguins are the only penguin species found on the African continent.
In the last century, their numbers have declined dramatically and current estimates suggest that there are a mere 10 000 breeding pairs in the wild today.
Scientists estimate that if their numbers continue to decline at the current rate, these charismatic and endemic birds will be functionally extinct in the wild within 15 to 20 years.
Shanet Rutgers, head penguin keeper and animal technician at the Two Oceans Aquarium, says being part of an international initiative, walking side by side with waddles all over the world, was a truly special feeling.
“Our birds at the Two Oceans Aquarium have for a long time been ambassadors for their species and seeing that in action illustrates the important work we are doing.”