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First Penguin Palooza at Stony Point

On 15 October 2016, SANCCOB and CapeNature hosted the first ever Penguin Palooza at the Stony Point penguin colony in Betty’s Bay, to commemorate African Penguin Awareness Day and to celebrate the official partnership between SANCCOB and CapeNature, which manages the colony.

Ten rehabilitated African Penguins were released back into the wild. Dr Razeena Omar, Chief Executive Officer of CapeNature, and Dr Stephen van der Spuy, Executive Director of SANCCOB, were among the staff and volunteers who tipped the boxes to release the penguins. Dr van der Spuy said, “It’s always a wonderful experience to be able to rescue, rehabilitate and release penguins back into the wild that otherwise would not have survived. We are honoured to formalise our partnership with CapeNature and to combine our efforts in saving the endangered African penguins species and other seabirds from exctinction.”

Visitors were allowed free entry into the colony on the day and the event also included educational activities and exhibitions by the South African National Parks – Table Mountain National Park, CapeNature and SANCCOB.

Located in the quaint coastal town of Betty’s Bay in the Overberg (Western Cape), the Stony Point Nature Reserve has been managed by CapeNature since 2014. In comparison to declining populations on most island colonies, the Stony Point land-based penguin colony is the third largest breeding colony of endangered African penguins in the world and has been showing a measurable increase in breeding pairs. In 2010, when the African penguin was officially declared endangered on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, there were approximately 1 244 breeding pairs resident in the colony. Today the colony is home to approximately 2 533 African penguin breeding pairs.

Says Dr Omar: “The fact that Stony Point is one of the few African penguin colonies showing an increase in breeding pairs means the birds clearly love it here, and there is a good food supply for them. The work being done here is vital in the ongoing conservation of this endangered species.”

Together, SANCCOB, CapeNature and their partners in conservation are at the forefront of saving the charismatic African penguin species. All proceeds from the Penguin Palooza benefitted the Stony Point penguin colony.

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