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Written by: Renée Leeuwner, Assistant Communications and Sustainability Manager, Two Oceans Aquarium

The 5th annual Penguin Promises Waddle for a Week will be taking place from 13 to 18 April 2015. The group of 16 waddlers tackling the 120km walk will be setting off from Gansbaai, walking their way to Simon’s Town, while raising much needed awareness about the plight of the endangered African penguin.

african penguins
© Pauline van der Spuy

The endangered African penguin is only found along the Southern African coastline. They occur nowhere else in the world. Their distribution stretches from Namibia in the west, to Algoa Bay in the east. These enigmatic birds face extinction in the wild as their numbers continue to decline dramatically. Loss of food source due to overfishing, climate change and habitat destruction are just some of the factors taking their toll.

african penguins swimming
© Chris Fallows

The Penguin Promises Waddle for a Week was started in 2011 as an AKAA (Animal Keepers Association of Africa) initiative that encourages people to make a behavioural change and through that, make a positive impact on the environment. The initiative has grown year on year and incorporates waddlers from around the country.

How can you help the African penguin and the waddlers?

It is quite easy to become involved. By simply making a promise to make a change in your daily live, you can positively effect change in the environment. These promises are funnelled through the Penguin Promises campaign and need to be submitted to ipromise@penguinpromises.com. Promises should be kept simple and do-able. So, why not make an environmental promise to stop using plastic bags and straws? Or how about swapping your water guzzling bath for a quick shower? Other promises include eating only sustainably sourced seafood, planting indigenous plants in your garden, adhering to the water by-laws and teaching others about the Penguin Promises campaign and the plight of the African penguin. These changes can have an immense positive impact on the environment when they are made collectively. The Waddle for a Week and the Penguin Promises campaign are not fundraisers, instead they aim to facilitate long-term behaviour change.

african penguin waddle walk

The Penguin Promises Waddle for a Week campaign is generously supported by Old Mutual Finance. “The team at Old Mutual Finance really cares about the future of our wildlife. The endangered African penguin, in particular, has a special place in our hearts. This is the second year that Old Mutual Finance is sponsoring the Waddle for a Week and we fully support the initiative in its efforts to save the African penguin and ensure that our children will be able to see these birds in the wild. This year we also have two OMF members joining the walk and a group of employees will join the waddlers on the final day and walk with them to Boulders Beach. All the best with the 2015 Waddle! OMF is right behind you,” said Johan de Wet, National Marketing Manager for Old Mutual Finance.

penguin waddle walk

On the final day of the Waddle, Saturday 18 April, the group will depart from Muizenberg and will walk to Simon’s Town. On this leg, they would love to see as many Capetonians and visitors as possible join them. Dress in black and white and show your love and support of the African penguin – Leave Muizenberg (Surfer’s Corner) at 9am and reach Simon’s Town at approximately 13:00.

african penguin waddle

For further information about the Penguin Promises Waddle for a Week, visit www.penguinpromises.com or email Hayley McLellan on hayley.mclellan@aquarium.co.za.

Rani Bazaruto

Africa Geographic Travel
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