On Monday 22 April a group of conservationists and representatives from the African Animal Keepers Association will start the third annual Penguin Promises waddle from Gansbaai. They will walk every day for a week and reach the Boulders Beach penguin colony in Simon’s Town just after 12 noon on Saturday 27 April. The aim is to raise awareness about the endangered African penguin.

The Simon’s Town community have arranged free family activities to support this initiative and invite you to join the fun on Jubilee Square between 10am and 2pm. The Two Ocean’s Aquarium will be on site with sea creature touch pools, face painting, penguin crafts and playful mascots to entertain and amaze all those interested.

Children from six local Simon’s Town and Fish Hoek pre-primary and primary schools have created pictures of penguins and their art will be displayed along St George’s Street from 10am on 27 April. Judges will decide the winners from various age categories and they will receive family meal vouchers from local restaurants. A set of books by two Kommetjie mums, Linda Fellowes (aka Lulu) and Theresa Acker (aka Tee), including the story of three African penguins Peter, Pamela and Percy, will be donated to the school libraries. Prizes will be awarded at 12 noon on Jubilee Square.

A penguin painting by Simon’s Town artist Marie Prinsloo will be raffled and there will be various prize giveaways including complimentary entry to the Two Oceans Aquarium and even a year-long membership for lucky winners.

“Most South Africans have no clue about how important our African penguins are. We think of these birds as ‘indicator’ species – in other words, the moment we notice that it in in decline, this is also an indication that the environment is degrading, so we’re asking that everyone makes a penguin promise – eat less meat; drive less often; plant a veggie garden” says waddle mastermind and Two Oceans Aquarium Animal Behaviourist Hayley McLellan.

Dress in black and white in support of the penguins and bring your family and friends.

For more information on Penguin Promises visit www.penguinpromises.com and www.facebook.com/penguinpromises. For more information on the activities in Simon’s Town email simonstownba@gmail.com or call Cape Town Tourism in Simon’s Town on 021 786 8440.

African Penguin facts:

The African penguin is only found on the Southern African coastline. Nowhere else in the world. The breeding range extends from Hallam’s Bird Island, off central Namibia, to Bird Island in Algoa Bay.

The distinctive black and white colouring helps to provide camouflage – white for underwater predators looking upwards and black for predators looking down onto the dark water.

African penguins usually lay two eggs at a time. The incubation period is 35 to 42 days, with the male and female sharing the duty of looking after the eggs, taking turns to fish or incubate the eggs.

·       The African penguin population is currently less than 5% of the original population and still declining rapidly, with an 80% decline since the 1950s, and a 60% decline in the past decade.