The endangered African Penguin’s numbers are currently as low as 50,000 birds compared to a very healthy population 100 years ago of about 1.5 million. Scientists claim that this species could go extinct within the next 15-25 years should environmental conditions not improve for them. This bird is endemic to southern Africa and considered an iconic animal as well as an indicator species, indicating to us the state of our oceans.
The Penguin Promises campaign was ‘hatched’ in 2011 and focuses on awareness, rather than fundraising, their slogan “We don’t want you money honey, we want your love” says it all. They feel that when the public donate money to a cause they very often feel momentarily better about themselves, but then walk away perhaps not really knowing or caring what happens thereafter. Awareness raising means that the public will be educated on the issue.
Penguin Promises proposes that if each and every person who currently has the privilege of living on our beautiful planet looks closely at the way in which they are in relationship with nature, and makes a conscious choice to change an aspect/s of their behavior that will have a positive effect on the environment. This links very closely with the vision and mission of Project 90.
The Penguin in the ocean is the same as the canary in the coalmine. The Penguins need healthy oceans, and so do we. The world is a web of life – everything relies on everything else.
There are a number of suggested promises that you can make that may assist the plight of the Penguins:
- Support the Sustainable Seafood Initiative –
The Penguins are a part of the ecosystem. We need to ensure that we maintain that ecosystem. You can sms a fish type to 079-499-8795 and they will sms you back and let you know if this is a wise choice for the ecosystem.
- Only eat grain fed chicken – Did you know that anchovies are the primary diet for Penguins? Most of the anchovies caught by the fisheries are turned into fish meal to feed farmed fish or chicken. So if you eat chicken, make sure it is grain-fed!
- Use environmentally friendly household cleaning products – To keep the waterways clean – because all the water ends up in the sea, watch that you only put products down your drain that are friendly to the environment.
- Buy local products – Choose a product that you will only buy locally, perhaps food or clothing. Then it does not have to be shipped in – that means less chance of oil spills. Furthermore, the more of us that demand local, the less carbon emissions will be created.
- Pick up other’s litter. Anywhere, anytime – The humility of this action inspires others. And it means the litter does not end up in the sea.
- Choose an action that will assist to reduce your carbon emissions – The lists of these are endless.
- Stay informed about the Penguin – The more we know, and share with others, there greater the chance of people effecting social change.
- Reduce the amount of plastic you use –Plastic products are made from oil. Relying less on oil means that it will not end up in the sea, where it is hazardous to these birds.
- Don’t buy plastic shopping bags – reuse quality fabric bags
- Don’t use plastic drinking straws
- Don’t take plastic take away cutlery – Keep your own with you for those take aways
- Don’t do bottled water. They are not good for the environment in so many ways, and yes, the oil industry makes the bottle.
You can make you own penguin promise here:
It has been shown that many people making a small lifestyle change can make an enormous difference! The time for talking is over, it is only action that will make the difference now.
Eager animal keepers from various animal facilities around the country as well as general members of the public take part in the Waddle which spans six days between 15-20th March. A distance of 120km is covered on the roads between Gansbaai – where Dyer island African penguin breeding colony exists; through Betty’s Bay – Stony Point penguin colony; ending in Simonstown – Boulders Beach penguin colony. Click here for a more detail and a map so that you can join the Waddlers on their journey.
More information is available on WHERE ARE WE ON OUR WADDLE 2014
Image courtesy of: http://pammiewp2.weebly.com/african-or-black-footed-penguin.html