uShaka Sea World staff take up the Penguin Waddle Challenge once again


uShaka Sea World staff members, Leandra Paverd, Presha Soogrim, Colette Bodenstaff, Gabby Harris and Lesley Labuschagne have taken up the Penguin Waddle 2016 challenge and will be joining 11 other penguin lovers, in a walk – or waddle – from Gansbaai to Simon’s Town, all in honour of the endangered, endemic African penguin (Spheniscus demersus).

Starting at sunrise on Monday, April 11 these passionate conservationists will walk an average of 20km per day for six days, passing through Hermanus, Kleinmond, Gordons Bay and Muizenberg. Their journey is set to end on Saturday, April 16 at the Boulders Beach penguin colony in Simon’s Town. 

Follow their intrepid journey and share it with friends via social media on Twitter: @SAAMBR and Instagram: SA_Marine_Biological_Research.

Lesley, Gabby, Leandra, Presha and Colette with Dee the African penguin

The idea of the Penguin Waddle started in 2010 when Gabby Harris, then curator of mammal and birds at uShaka Sea World, felt overwhelmed by escalating environmental concerns. 

She contacted her colleague Hayley McLellan, who was caring for the penguin colony at the Aquarium at the time, to chat about her concerns and ideas which included walking from the Namibian border to Cape Town. Her motivation was to raise general environmental awareness, with a specific focus on the plight of the African penguin.

Hayley managed to convince Gabby that neither of them was in a position to tackle something quite so epic and together they came up with a more managable plan – to walk from Gansbaai to Simon's Town. With that, the Penguin Waddle and Penguin Promises campaign was launched.

It is up to us to ensure that the Southern Ocean is a place where penguins not only survive, but thrive. The African penguin is an ocean indicator species, which means that the status of the penguin reflects the state of the ocean.

The endangered African penguin is only found along the southern African coastline. Their distribution stretches from Namibia in the west, to Algoa Bay in the east. These charismatic birds face extinction in the wild as their numbers continue to decline dramatically.

How can South Africans help the African penguin? It is so easy to get involved. Take the first step by visiting www.penguinpromises.com and choosing one or more of the listed suggestions. 

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