Environmental Policy News

Penguin Promises: Waddle for a Week

Facing an onslaught of threats dating all the way back to the 1800’s it is clear to see why the African penguin is not coping in the environment. Historic guano, required for nesting, scraping as well as egg harvesting probably had the biggest impact on their numbers. Loss of food source due to overfishing, and climate change are some of the modern threats taking their toll on the species population. Current data suggests there are only about 40 000 of these endemic birds remaining and scientists state that this indicator species could be extinct in the wild within 15-20 years. With figures of close to 2 million birds 100 years ago, this decline is more than alarming.

In keeping with the world wide call of “What can Zoos and Aquaria do to promote global conservation awareness”, the Animal Keepers of Africa (AKA) created the Penguin Promises campaign in 2011 to raise awareness of the plight of the endangered African Penguin which is only found on the Southern African coastline. To spread environmental messages, raise NO money but rather inspire relevant social behavior change, the 5th annual Waddle for a Week will take place 13-18 April 2015. Keepers and interest groups walk 120 km along the East coast of South Africa from Dyer Island, Gaansbaai, to Boulders Beach in Simonstown, Cape Town.

This campaign has been scientifically evaluated and reveals that it is meeting its objectives. Most encouragingly, this research may help to inform future projects of its kind.

To get involved, visit www.penguinpromises.com, Facebook www.facebook.com/penguinpromises or Twitter twitter.com/penguinpromises or Youtube www.youtube.com/penguinpromises.

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