Penguins: The African Chaplin
52 min • Nature & Environment • 2014
The African penguin is the only penguin species occurring in Africa, and one of the most charismatic coastal birds found on the continent. They are a clumsy presence on land, resembling a comical human form in motion, earning them the title: The Charles Chaplin of the bird world. Penguins fascinate people all over the world as they radiate personality and provide endless hours of entertainment with their antics. This is the story of the African Chaplin's struggle to escape extinction - from the last stronghold at the southern tip of Africa: Algoa Bay. In this bay we found more than 50% of the global population of these birds. But, due to historical and present commercial pressures, their numbers continue to drop alarmingly. African penguins are now critically endangered, and no more than 23 000 breeding pairs remain in the world. We follow the survival of these tenacious birds on the Algoa Bay islands, facing the harsh African elements as well as their natural predators. Despite the present protection of their main breeding islands, their numbers continue to fall. Here in Algoa Bay, scientists are using the breeding penguins ito find the answers for such a staggering decline. With the latest tracking technology, scientists are obtaining vital information, shedding light on the causes of their demise. These findings can provide the last chance for the survival of these unique feathered friends, giving a small glimmer of hope for the African Chaplin.