on April 20, 2006
Going to Boulders Beach, where a colony of African Penguins live, was definitely the highlight of my time in Cape Town. For the 2 months prior to my trip, I had been researching endangered and vulnerable penguin species for my class research project, so to actually see one of the species I had been reading about was amazing.The African penguins are listed as vulnerable in the Red List of Threatened Species. The African penguin has colonies along the coasts and nearby islands of South Africa and Namibia, one of the colonies being at Boulders Beach and another one at Robben Island. In the past, this species was threatened by human disturbance and the harvesting of guano for fertilizer and their eggs for food. More recently they have been threatened by oil spills.At Boulder’s Beach you can walk on a boardwalk through the colony. Along the walkway you can see the penguins nesting in the bush, some with eggs or chicks. The route ends at Foxy Beach, where you can watch the penguins go out on their foraging trips and return. Also, during our visit we watched the adult penguins attempt to keep a chick that did not have its waterproof wings from going into the water. The chick did go in a little before they go it to turn around and dragged it back to the dry beach, but the chick no longer moved, and he was either unconscious or died. It was kind of sad to see, but it was interesting to see how the non-parental adults tried to keep him from going in the water.A little bit down the coastline is the actual Boulder’s Beach, where you can go swimming. There are some penguins in this area, and if you're lucky (or some may consider it unlucky), you will end up with one swimming near you. Do not get too close to the penguins, though, as they will bite, causing serious injury. One of my classmates had one lunge at her when she was walking down the steps, and was almost bit in the behind.
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