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Africa Geographic Travel

Written by: Halden Krog

It was a picture of a slightly different kind as the sun beat down on the huge granite rocks that make up Boulders Beach in Simon’s Town. Instead of the familiar penguins, a twisting line of red and blue-clad members of SANCCOB drew the attention as it made its way down the boardwalk towards the beach, each person holding a large brown box with bold black letters warning: “handle with care”.

penguin release boulders beach

penguin release boulders beach

penguin release boulders beach

Slowly the boxes were lined up on the dunes, and the boardwalk suddenly became packed with onlookers all talking in hushed tones, some pointing, while others tried to capture the moment with their cameras.

penguin release boulders beach

All went silent just before the boxes were opened. The boxes were tipped over to reveal their monochromatic passengers inside. Seven plump African penguins plopped onto the white sand slowly surveying their surroundings, letting their natural instincts take hold, guiding them to the cool water.

penguin release boulders beach

penguin release boulders beach

The only adult of the group took the lead showing the youngsters the way down through the gauntlet of rocks, seaweed and rude locals – it would seem penguin colonies are not necessarily friendly to new comers. Eventually all seven waddled their way into the surf shaking their tails and ducking their heads in the Atlantic water. There were cheers and congratulations all round as another successful release was over.

penguin release boulders beach

penguin release boulders beach

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About

SANCCOB is a leading marine-orientated, non-profit organisation which has treated more than 95 000 oiled, ill, injured or abandoned endangered African penguins and other threatened seabirds since being established in 1968.

Africa Geographic Travel