Whilst the established African penguin colony at Boulders Beach in Simon’s Town falls under the protection of SANParks, right next door there is a group of penguins breeding on unprotected public land. The Burgher’s Walk Restoration Project is a coordinated plan to protect these birds from curious members of the public, dogs and other domestic animals, and from being run over by cars travelling along the road above the site.
The objectives of the project are to:
- Rescue ill, injured, oiled and abandoned African penguins and penguin eggs and ensure that they are admitted to SANCCOB efficiently
- Rehabilitate rescued penguins and eggs for release back into the colony
- Provide healthy and safe breeding grounds for penguins
- Rehabilitate the natural habitat (Strandveld and Coastal thicket – where heavy winter rains, storm water damage and trampling caused severe degradation
- Train and develop staff, as well as Seabird and Penguin Rangers
Penguin and Seabird Rangers are a key component of the project and play a pivotal role in the rehabilitation chain of African penguins. The project currently employs four Penguin Rangers, many of whom are from under-resourced backgrounds. They receive a two-week seabird-handling and feeding training course at SANCCOB (in addition to the regular ranger training offered by SANParks) and are sponsored through SANCCOB’s fundraising efforts.
Funding goes towards the management of the terrain, the rehabilitation of penguins at SANCCOB, the salaries of four rangers, and the upkeep of the fencing and path.