Cape Town - The Two Oceans Aquarium says it is "absolutely astounded" by the response to its Penguin Waddle and they are bursting with pride for the "love and willingness to save the African penguin".
On Monday, 08 May to Sunday, 13 May, dubbed the #WaddleWeek, saw penguin lovers from all over South Africa walking from Gansbaai to Boulders Beach in Simon's Town in support of the African penguin and the environment.
Centred around African Penguin Awareness Day and dedicated to raising worldwide awareness about the plight of the endangered African penguin, the only penguin endemic to the African continent and now in its 7th year, the initiative is led by African penguin conservation group Penguin Promises and the Two Oceans Aquarium.
And this Waddle for a Week was all about giving these beautiful endemic birds a fighting chance at survival.
"We’re drawing attention to the fact that there are practical steps we can take in our everyday lives to help protect the fast-dwindling numbers of African penguins still living and breeding on the South African coast," says Two Oceans Aquarium.
SEE: Waddle for a Week: Walking in support of the African penguin and the environment
With these seabirds facing dramatic declines from loss of food source due to over-fishing, climate change and habitat destruction are just some of the factors taking their toll, there has been 60% decline in the last 30 years and by over 50% in the three most recent generations.
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), these declines have continued, with the global population in 2009 estimated at just 25 262 pairs - a decline of 61% over just 28 years.
Penguin Promises says, the African penguin is also threatened by human activity.
"In the past, collectors would go into the nesting areas and remove all the eggs, then wait for fresh eggs to be laid, and remove these to be sold as delicacies. This practice has now been banned but it contributed significantly to penguin population decline," says the campaign.
Walking from Gansbaai - also known as the 'bay of geese' - a fishing town and popular tourist destination in the Western Cape, it is known for its dense population of great white sharks and as a whale-watching location, hundreds of community members as well as little waddlers joined in, showing up in support of the Penguin Promises mission.
"We were absolutely astounded by the response that our Waddle had received, and swelled with pride to see your love and willingness to save the African penguin," says the Aquarium.
South Africa basks in the privilege of having some of the top spots to see the cute little waddling penguins hopping about on our beaches, undisturbed by human activity close by. See our picks below.
Boulders Beach - Simonstown
Stoney Point - Betty's Bay
Robben Island – off Table Bay’s shore
Tow Ocean Aquarium - Cape Town
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