WPC: Tour Guide – Let’s find the penguins

Playing tour guide, my first stop is this vantage point overlooking the splendid vista of False Bay.  Simon’s Town lays at the foothills, and way in the distance on the opposite side is Cape Hangklip.  The small town bustles with a distinct naval ‘air’ having been established as a naval base by the British in 1799 and where today the SA Navy is stationed.  We’ll pass through it, as we’re on our way to visit Boulders to see the African penguin colony.

The Boulders area is dotted with impressively sculpted granite rocks sheltering discreetly placed sandy coves.  Here a colony of African penguin (Spheniscus demersus) have found a comfortable nesting area.   From just two breeding pairs in 1982 the population numbers have increased to about 2200 in recent years.

We will venture down the boardwalk to see the main nursery.

As you will note the houses are quite nearby – this is as close to an ‘urban’ colony as can be imagined.  The area is fenced off, but often the penguins stray beyond the boundaries and care must be taken driving or parking to check if all is clear.

Sadly the African penguin is listed in the Red Data Book as an endangered species, and the birds are in considerably more trouble than rhinos.   With the decline in shoal fish such as pilchards and anchovy they could be heading for extinction in the not too distant future.

To end the tour, a nod to the eminent granite Rock Stars, all of 540 million year old. A pathway follows along the coast for a nice leisurely stroll and swim to top off the experience.

WPC: Tour Guide

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Dawn breaks

Vulnerable penguin in the early dawn light.

The silvery light of dawn creeps in as an African penguin (Spheniscus demersus) heads to the water.   Their numbers are decreasing and IUCN conservation status records the species as endangered.

Shall We Dance?

The charismatic African penguin - Spheniscus demersus returns from sea_01 African penguins mate for life. African penguins from the Boulders colony live on the urban edge. African penguins shadow dancing.

WPC:  Shadow

The afternoon shadows lengthen as the sun slips towards the horizon and the African penguins return from a day’s fishing.  Stocks of their prey, small pelagic fish such as sardines and anchovies are dwindling in numbers and as a consequence since 2000 the penguin populations off South African have been declining, especially off the heavily fished West Coast.  Give a thought for these charismatic little creatures as they are listed as Endangered on the IUCN’s REd Data List.

Numbers

Rhino-poaching-numbers

“Since 2008 poachers have killed at least 5,940 African rhinos……

Rhino poaching is currently at a crisis point. By the end of 2015, the number of African rhinos killed by poachers had increased for the sixth year in a row with at least 1,338 rhinos killed by poachers across Africa in 2015. These statistics are compiled by by International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Species Survival Commission’s African Rhino Specialist Group (AfRSG).”  www.savetherhino.org

Ben’s theme this week is “Numbers”.