The much anticipated 4th annual Penguin Palooza took place on Saturday, 07 December 2019 at the Stony Point Nature Reserve in Betty’s Bay. Jointly hosted by CapeNature and the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB), this annual event aims to raise awareness about the endangered African penguin and the collaborative conservation work happening at the Stony Point penguin colony. This year the first 50 attendees scored free entry into the reserve!
The penguins' journey back home commences at the Stony Point penguin colony.
The annual Penguin Palooza provides an engaging platform for surrounding communities and visiting tourists to witness that special moment when rehabilitated African penguins are released back into the sea after treatment at SANCCOB. CapeNature manages Stony Point and is committed to the ongoing success of the site as a breeding colony for the endangered African penguin.
A successful beach release for the rehabilitated penguins.
“CapeNature and SANCCOB jointly employ a Penguin and Seabird Ranger at Stony Point to monitor the health and welfare of the African penguins and seabirds alike at the Western Cape’s most populated African penguin colony. Palooza attendees will have the opportunity to interact with local exhibitors who are equally passionate about the success of the colony”, commented Dr Razeena Omar, Chief Executive Officer of CapeNature.
Penguins following their beach release.
Sharnay Wagner, SANCCOB’s Education Supervisor, observed that, “The Penguin Palooza is a family day with exhibition stands by like-minded conservation partners, a community market and fun, educational activities for children. It’s a wonderful scenic drive to the event location and an ideal opportunity to meet and share information.”
Activities for the whole family at this year's Penguin Palooza.
The event officially opened at 10h00 and Palooza attendees were invited to an observation point overlooking the release point where hand-reared African penguins headed into the open sea. SANCCOB and CapeNature staff were on hand to share interesting insights into their work at the colony. There was plenty of family-orientated fun on offer with delicious foods on sale, a jumping castle, face painting and much more to see and do.
The iconic and endangered African penguin (Spheniscus demersus) is the only penguin species endemic to the African continent. It was once one of South Africa’s most abundant seabirds, but has suffered a massive decline in numbers with only 2% of the historic population left in the wild today.
The African penguin colony at Stony Point is one of two mainland breeding colonies in South Africa (the other one being Boulders in Simon’s Town). Stony Point is the only colony that has shown an increase in the number of African penguins in the last decade.