South African National Parks (SANParks) and the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB) – two IUCN Members – have joined the City of Cape Town and other partners in the rehabilitation of the penguin breeding site at Burghers’ Walk in Simon’s Town, South Africa.
Last Thursday, IUCN Head of Office in South Africa, Hastings Chikoko and the Chief Executive Officer of SANCCOB, Venessa Strauss were among the people that participated in the tree planting activities at Burghers’ Walk that was hosted jointly by SANParks and City of Cape Town as part of the rehabilitation programme. The ceremony was officiated by Cape Town Mayoral Committee Member for Community Services, Councillor Tandeka Gqada.
Burghers’ Walk is known for its large African Penguin (Spheniscus demersus) colony, which has provided a great attraction and aesthetic appeal to both tourists and residents visiting the area on a daily basis
The area along Burghers’ Walk and the adjacent Boulders Beach is one of the only two land-based colonies of the African Penguins in South Africa. The past few years have seen an accelerated degradation of Burghers’ Walk due to the trampling of vegetation and soil erosion. To ensure uninterrupted rehabilitation, the city has therefore temporarily closed Burgers’ Walk with a plan to re-open after the rehabilitation.
The African Penguin is listed as ‘endangered’ according to the IUCN Red List. There were about 1.5 million adult African Penguins along the southern African coast in the 1930’s. However, human activities reduced this number by a staggering 90% in less than a century. This calls for increased conservation action to ensure that this species is protected and to prevent further declines. SANCCOB’s main goal in this regard is to help limit mortality of these birds by rehabilitating and releasing birds back into the wild.
SANParks has been a Member of IUCN since 1949 and SANCCOB joined IUCN in 2010.