To commemorate Valentine’s Day this year, I thought it would be appropriate to post about the endangered African Penguin (Spheniscus demersus), or as I like to call them: lovebirds! These flightless birds, are as you may know, monogamous; with a startling 80-90% of couples remaining together for their entire lives! Can you imagine? That percentage is far higher than us homo sapiens!
South African Penguins “Lovebirds”
A FEW FACTS ABOUT AFRICAN PENGUINS
The breeding season is mostly between the months of March and May, however, it seems you can find a few couples in some stage of the breeding cycle throughout the year. Apparently this is quite different from most other bird species.
These lovebirds begin mating around the age of four and usually results in the creation of two eggs, one for each parent (the perfect size family). During the incubation period, which usually lasts about 40 days, the pair takes equal turns caring for the eggs.
Their habitat ranges from Port Elizabeth, South Africa up the western coast of the country and into Namibia. However, due to habitat destruction, declining food sources, domestic pets/animals, and global warming their numbers are quickly dwindling. At the moment there are just a mere 18,683 breeding pairs left in the wild in South Africa, just a fraction of what it used to be.
Located very close to Simons Town, South Africa this particular colony of African penguins is situated on Boulders Beach and as a result they have been given the name: Boulders Penguin Colony
HOW YOU CAN HELP
While I was in South Africa, I came across an amazing organisation, SANCCOB, working very hard to protect African penguins and other seabirds in the region. At the moment, and in honour of Valentine’s Day, they are offering a very special way to help an endangered species while at the same time providing one of the most unique gifts to your special someone.
For 500 Rand (South African Currency) or $42.27 USD, you can adopt two African penguins for the price you would normally pay for just one.
Better yet, you will get to name the penguins (perhaps, after your partner and yourself ;o) and you’ll receive a photograph of the penguins that have been meticulously cared for before they release them back into the wild South African landscape.
Here are two links for more information. The first is their home page and the second will take you directly to the adoption page:
2) Valentine’s 2 for 1 Special – Adopt an African Penguin:
DID YOU KNOW?
Americans spend roughly 20 billion dollars on Valentine’s Day each year?! Why not spend on something charitable this year?
Juvenile Male Penguins at Betty’s Bay, South Africa
To learn more about how to visit the African penguins for your next trip to South Africa, check out:
And of course, HAPPY VALENTINES DAY TO ALL THE LOVEBIRDS OUT THERE!