Londi and Zama to support 5th annual African Penguin Promises Waddle

uShaka Sea World marine educators Londi Shezi and Zama Shandu have taken up the challenge to create awareness of the plight of African penguins and will be walking 120km along the Western Cape coast in the 5th African Penguin Promises Waddle.

Starting at sunrise in Gansbaai on Monday 13 April, the intrepid duo will walk an average of 20km  a day for six days. Passing through Hermanus, Kleinmond, Betty’s Bay, Strand and Muizenberg, their journey will end on Saturday 18 April, at the Boulders Beach penguin colony in Simon's Town.

Zama and Londi will be joined by 14 animal keepers and other penguin enthusiasts from around the country who are committed to encouraging their fellow South Africans to urgently make lifestyle changes in order to minimise their personal environmental footprint. 

As Zama explains: “The African penguin only has one home, one food source and one chance, and it is up to us to ensure that the Southern Ocean coastline is a place where penguins not only survive, but thrive.”

Ocean, the African penguin gives Londi Shezi and Zama Shandu last minute tips as they prepare for the 5th Annual African Penguin Awareness Waddle

 

Londi agrees with her colleague, adding: "We inherited a world where nature was in a stronger position than it is now and it’s up to us to take responsibility to protect our natural heritage. The African penguin is both an iconic animal as well as an ocean indicator species – the status of the penguin reflects the state of the ocean – and the picture doesn’t look good.”

African penguins are not found anywhere else in the world except Southern Africa and their numbers have continued to plummet at an alarming rate. Currently, it is estimated that their numbers are lower than 40 000, which is less than half their total population 10 years ago.  

Should current environment conditions not improve, the African penguin could become extinct within the next 14 years.

There are many possible reasons for the birds' recent decline: depletion of fish stocks due to overfishing, climate change and pollution.

Zama and Londi have been training for the past few months and are ready for both the physical challenge and the environmental challenges. Follow their progress on www.penguinpromises.com

It is easy for South Africans to help the African penguin and the waddlers by simply making a promise to make a change in their daily lives. These promises can be funnelled through the Penguin Promises campaign and should be submitted to ipromise@penguinpromises.com.

Promises should be kept simple and doable. An example could be not using single-use shopping bags, swopping a bath for a quick shower, only eating sustainably sourced seafood and always placing litter in a bin so it doesn't end up polluting the ocean.

2015 African Penguin Promises Waddle route

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