Media Release: Public heed call to help conserve Red Data-listed African Penguin
03 March 2009
A total of 200 nest boxes were handed to Table Mountain National Park (TMNP) by iKapa Honorary Rangers, in partnership with Dyer Island Conversation Trust; a US-based Special Species Project and ordinary members of the public.
The specially designed nest boxes are a response to the decline in the Red Data-listed African Penguin population. The population of African Penguins has experienced a dramatic decline in recent years to only 120 000 birds. The nest boxes will help conserve the Boulders Colony population of African Penguins by protecting eggs from predators and juveniles from heat exhaustion, which is having an impact on these charismatic sea birds.
“Our target was 100 nest boxes and as a result of the overwhelming public response we doubled that number. We’ve seen some wonderful out of the box thinking from private citizens, mostly in Cape Town, some Gauteng and the UK who have sponsored nest boxes as lifelong Christmas and birthday presents for their children and grandchildren. We also have had a strong interest from eco clubs at schools around the peninsula. We still have some nest boxes available for schools to sponsor,” says Sue Smith, chairperson, iKapa Honorary Rangers. The Honorary Rangers is a SANParks-wide volunteer organisation that raises funds for various projects in national parks.
Accepting the 200 nest boxes, Brett Myrdal, park manager for Table Mountain National Park expressed his appreciation for the iKapa Honorary Rangers initiative with this important conservation project. He was also enthusiastic about the strong public interest as it signalled the value that citizens place on the importance of conserving indigenous species in Table Mountain National Park.
A map of the numbered nest boxes with sponsor’s names will be on display at Boulders Penguin Colony, and schools will also receive an informative poster on the African Penguin.
iKapa Honorary Rangers will present each nest box sponsor a “Friends of SANParks” (South African National Parks) certificate acknowledging their sponsorship and contribution to conservation of the African Penguin.
Phumeza Mgxashe, Communications Manager, Table Mountain National Park, Tel: (021) 701 8692, Cell: 083 480 1522, e-mail: email@example.com