Walking in support of the African penguin and the environment

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The 7th annual Penguin Promises Waddle for a Week takes place from 08 to13 May 2017.  This will again see the Waddlers set off from Kleinbaai in Gansbaai on their 120km journey. The walk will last six days and end at Boulders Beach in Simon’s Town. Along the way the group, consisting of representatives from SAAMBR, SANCCOB, the Two Oceans Aquarium, and other penguin and environmental enthusiasts, will raise much-needed awareness about the plight of the endangered African penguin, as well as the environment. The Waddlers will also collect promises from the public as part of the Penguin Promises campaign.

The Penguin Promises Waddle for a Week started in 2011 and is a PAAZA (African Association of Zoos and Aquaria) conservation programme, supported by SAAMBR and the Two Oceans Aquarium. This initiative encourages people to make behavioral changes that have a positive impact on the environment.

The African penguin is the only penguin species found on the African continent. The species is endemic to the southern African coastline and occurs from Namibia to Algoa Bay. These birds face extinction in the wild as their numbers continue to decline dramatically. Reduced food availability due to overfishing, climate change and habitat destruction are just some of the factors taking their toll on bird numbers.

How can South Africans help the African penguin, the environment and the Waddlers? By simply promising to make a change in their daily lives. These promises are funneled through the Penguin Promises campaign and can be submitted to ipromise@penguinpromises.com Promises should be kept simple and achievable. Some examples of promises include: declining straws, using reusable shopping bags rather than plastic bags, taking quick showers rather than bathing, adhering to water by-laws , and choosing only sustainable seafood, to name but a few. When made collectively, these choices can have an immensely positive impact on the environment. The Waddle for a Week and Penguin Promises campaign are not fundraisers – they rather aim to facilitate long-term behavior change.

This year SPAR Western Cape has committed its support for the Waddle and Penguin Promises. School children along the route will be educated about making everyday choices that have a positive impact on the environment through interactive activities focusing on electricity, water, waste and biodiversity. Puppet shows and puppet stories will cater to younger children on the same themes. “SPAR Western Cape is proud to partner with the annual Waddle for a Week.  Raising awareness of the need to care for our environment is always close to our heart and ensuring the health and wellbeing of our oceans is of paramount importance.  The outreach component to the Waddle this year ticks all boxes as it speaks to our younger supporters and the choices that they make.”, said Elsabe Van Zyl – Advertising Manager, SPAR Western Cape.

As with previous Waddles, the organisers are grateful for the generous support Old Mutual Finance (OMF).  OMF has been a firm supporter of the Waddle for a number of years and will again this year have two representatives accompany the Waddlers.

Transport for the Waddlers is kindly provided by De Kat Safaris, and all lodging for the week is also generously sponsored by various accommodation establishments.

On the final day of the Waddle, Saturday 13 May, the group will depart from Muizenberg and will walk to Simon’s Town. On this 15km leg, they would love to see as many Capetonians and visitors as possible join them. Dress in black and white and show your love and support of the African penguin – Leave Muizenberg (Surfer’s Corner) at 9am and reach Simon’s Town at approximately 13:00. Free access to the Boulder’s boardwalk for fifty participating public.

For further information about the Penguin Promises Waddle for a Week, visit www.penguinpromises.com