The African penguin population is decreasing rapidly, primarily due to a lack of food. In an attempt to re-establish the African penguin colony on the south coast of South Africa, 30 penguin fledglings were released at the De Hoop Nature Reserve on June 11.
Birdlife South Africa, CapeNature, and the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB) have partnered up to help save this endangered African penguin.
Competition with the fishing industry as well as the shift in fish stock on the west coast of South Africa means that penguins breeding on the west coast are struggling to find any food for survival.
De Hoop was chosen as a colony in 2015 when BirdLife South Africa started investigating whether a new colony could be established for the African penguin. CapeNature and BirdLife South Africa partnered up in the construction of a predator fence that would ensure the safety of the penguins after they had been moved.
‘This release, which will hopefully be the first of many, is the culmination of many years of work so I’m immensely excited to see it finally happening!’ says Christina Hagen, the Pamela Isdell Fellow of Penguin Conservation at BirdLife South Africa, who has been running the project since 2015.
Life-like penguin imitations and penguin calls being broadcasters through loudspeakers were used to help re-colonise the De Hoop naturally.