Western Cape, South Africa: Photo Essay

How fortunate we are to see and experience incredible spectacles of nature. It’s easy to see the beauty of this penguin and its reflection, but I see something more: the beauty of water that is taken back to reveal the sand which becomes the mirror that reflects the drama and splendor of nature in perfect detail.

The African Penguin is listed in the Red Data Book as an endangered species.  Of 1,5 million African Penguin population estimated in 1910, only some 10% remained at the end of the 20th century.  The uncontrolled harvesting of penguin eggs (as a source of food), and guano scraping, nearly drove the species to extinction. * 

According to Boulders Beach staffers, Climate Change has affected fish stocks and increased severe weather incidences have depleted penguin chicks in numbers. When I asked a Boulders Beach staffer if tourism had a negative impact, his reply, "No, just the opposite. Your visit help sparked a lifelong commitment to saving their future."

Because of their donkey-like braying call they were previously called the Jackass Penguin.  Since several species of South American penguins produce the same sound, the local birds have been renamed African penguins, as they are the only example of the species that breed in Africa.*
They can swim at an average speed of seven kilometers per hour, and can stay submerged for up to two minutes.*

It’s sad that the US president does not believe in climate change or global warming. The fragility of our environment is clearly evident now more than ever. Our planet earth is worth protecting. Much like the sand, we too can be mirrors and reflect the best in one another to spur each other into action.
Their distinctive white and black coloring is a vital form of camouflage - white for underwater predators looking upwards and black for predators looking down onto the water.*
Peak moulting time is during December, after which they head out to sea to feed (since they do not feed during moulting), They return in January to mate and begin nesting from about February to August.*


1.  Photos by the author and Vincent Chan.
2.  * Penguin Facts from South African National Parks, Boulders Penguin Colony literature.



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