Cape penguins asked to move!

Visitors to the Cape of Good Hope nature reserve never miss the stop at Boulders Beach, where local authorities have built walkways to closely observe the colonies of these harmless black and white palmipeds. But this tourist attraction may well disappear. In ten years, the number of breeding pairs has dropped by 90%, from 32,000 to 3,000. The same observation is made further north, in Namibia, where this species classified as vulnerable also lives. Two hypotheses have been put forward to explain this worrying disappearance: overfishing and climate change. Schools of sardines and anchovies, their main prey, have moved further south or east, away from the home port of Cape penguins, where they nest each year. Scientists plan to take a drastic step: move the animals south, to bring them closer to their food sources. And in order not to disturb these birds incapable of flying, they would simulate the existence of an already existing colony by broadcasting recorded sounds (they are very noisy animals!) And by installing mirrors giving the illusion of a crowd of congeners. It remains to be seen how they will manage this move of a particular kind ...

From the Cape of Good Hope to Kruger Park, this month we're taking off in South Africa in Serengo n ° 2, currently on newsstands.

South African Penguins at Boulders Beach (August 2020)

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