BirdLife SA hatches plan for new colony to help save African Penguin

Conservationists are planning to create a new colony to help save the endangered African Penguin.

African Penguin numbers have decreased dramatically over the last 60 years, with little sign of slowing

The populations on the West Coast of South Africa have suffered the most, with an over 60% decrease in the last 20 years.

Read more: 90% decline in SA's African Penguin species

BirdLife South Africa says this has been largely driven by decreases in the availability of the penguin’s preferred prey: sardine and anchovy.

They hope to create a new colony for the penguins in De Hoop Nature Reserve, where more food sources are available, by using what they call passive attraction techniques.

This will involve decoys and using callings to attract the birds, in addition to moving chicks from other rescue facilities.

The organisation's Dr Ross Wanless explains that adult birds that are already breeding, will not be moved to the new colony.

The population has crashed and we are really struggling to turn that around. Building a new colony is one of the solutions.

Dr. Ross Wanless, Global Seabird Programme Coordinator at BirdLife South Africa

The food sources for penguins in the Western Cape have disappeared in the West Coast. Penguins can't breed where the food is because there are no islands on the South Coast.

Dr. Ross Wanless, Global Seabird Programme Coordinator at BirdLife South Africa

Listen to learn more about the ambitious plans:


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