African Penguins

Boulders Beach
In Penguin Heaven at Boulders Beach

Watching African Penguins can brighten any day for me. These funny little characters are brimming with personality as they run around their nesting grounds that are located in just a few small areas of beach on the south-western coast of Africa. I was lucky enough to see them in full display at Boulders Beach in South Africa last March during the peak of their nesting season. It was fun to watch them swim through the waves then emerge from the water to shake from head to toe like a wet dog and then run to their mate at the pair’s nest. Some were sitting on large eggs and others were taking care of their hungry chicks. Some chicks were almost as big as their parent but still covered with fluffy brown feathers, not yet having the distinct black and white tuxedo pattern on their body, black spots on their chest, and pink glands above their eyes. Each one seemed to have their own personality and I became lost in time for at least three hours. It is heartbreaking to think of their rapidly dwindling population and high risk of extinction possibly within the next 10 years. Their main predators are sharks and Cape fur seals, but also humans have had a devastating impact on African penguins and their nesting grounds. I hope to return to the area someday so that I can get lost with the African Penguins again.

 

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