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African penguin at the Boulder colony

African penguin at the Boulder colony

 

Did you know that penguins lived in South Africa? If your answer is no, then you’re wrong, because they definitely do. The African penguins at Boulders Beach are currently listed as an endangered species and their numbers have declined steeply over the years. To stop the decline, the penguin colony at Boulders Beach was created in 1983 to protect them.

In 1983 a pair of African penguins were spotted on Foxy Beach at Boulders near Simon's Town and in 1985 they began to lay. Since then the colony has grown rapidly, increasing initially at about 60% a year. By 1997 there were 2350 adult birds. Such a quick growth of the colony was the result of immigration, particularly from Dyer Island, as well as by reproduction. Birds have probably come to False Bay because of the good fishing available since commercial purse seine fishing has been banned in the Bay. Although Simon's Town is very proud of its penguins, nearby residents suffered badly as the birds invaded their gardens, destroyed the undergrowth and were generally very noisy and messy. The great increase in tourists has also been a problem. As a result, the area has now been taken over by Cape Peninsula National Park, the birds have been restrained from wandering inland by a fence, board walks and an information room have all been established. Boulders still remains the only place in the world where one can actually swim amongst the penguins as they have continued to invade more beaches. They are remarkably untroubled by people but one should avoid harassing them by getting too close or chasing them. Beware!! They have a vicious bite.