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Table Mountain National Park

Research and Projects

Saving the Endangered African Penguin at Boulders

Penguin Nests

Boulders Penguin Population

Natural Nests (Surface)

  • Risks
    • Rain
    • Wind & Sand
    • Sun (heat)
    • Predation (Kelp gulls, mongoose, seal, otter, cats, genet)
    • Injuries (fighting)

Natural Nests (Burrows)

  • Problems
    • Soil texture (sandy coastline – little stability)
    • No significant guano deposits

Formacrete Nest Box

  • Installation – 2003 (62 boxes)
  • Benefit
    • Emulates “burrow” function & shape
    • Shelter against
      • Predation
      • Weather
    • Nests increase site breeding capacity (shorter distance between nests – less direct contact
    • Previously unused areas can now be used
    • Increased breeding success through reduction in risk factors

Nest Placement

  • Facing down slope – rain
  • Previously used areas and new
  • Open and forested area

Concerns about presently-used nest boxes

  • Size
    • Suitable for 2 young chicks and 1 adult
    • When chicks grow older – box becomes too small
    • Penguins cannot stand up in nest box

New Penguin Nest Boxes

Penguin nest boxes

 

  • Longer and larger than Boulders nest boxes
  • Fiberglass mix
  • Larger opening – penguin is able to stand
  • Same protection as current nest boxes
  • More “breathing” holes
  • Strong enough to be covered if required
  • Emulates natural burrow

Nest Box Monitoring Results

Year 2004
2005
2006
2007

Unoccupied nest

12

14

13

15

Occupied nest

49

47

48

46

% Occupancy

80%

77%

78%

75%

Successful breeding attempt

33

25

27

20

Unsuccessful breeding attempt

16

22

21

26

% Success

54%

41%

44%

33%

No. chicks raised

54

40

49

31


Artificial Nest Box Monitoring

Purchase a Penguin Nest Box and help preserve these beautiful creatures!