WATCH: Penguins on the loose in SA’s empty streets

Business Insider SA
  • Rangers have had their hands full with African penguins who are wandering into the quiet streets during the national lockdown.
  • A trio of dapper penguins have been filmed quickly - if somewhat clumsily - making their way down a Simon's Town road and onto pavements.
  • While the rest of South Africa is dead quiet, it is currently peak penguin hatching season.
  • For mores stories go to

The Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB)  says its rangers currently have their hands full to keep African penguins from wandering into the quiet streets during the national lockdown.

On Friday, it released a video of a trio of penguins, who went waddling on the streets of Simon’s Town outside Cape Town this week.

The penguins are seen crossing an intersection and jumping onto the pavement as they quickly make their way down the road, in the video captured by of its penguin rangers, Mikaela Slier.

African penguins taking a walk through the empty streets of Simon's Town.

SANCCOB is involved in the protection of a group of penguins that are currently breeding on public land right next to the African penguin colony at Boulders Beach in Simon’s Town. They help to  protect these birds from curious members of the public and domestic animals, and from being run over by cars.

SANCCOB's Ronnis Daniels says the penguins usually get anxious when humans are too close. "But as there are a lot less vehicles and people they are enjoying having their territory back."

SANCCOB rangers are doing their utmost to keep the penguins safe and redirect them back to the colony, she added.

SANCCOB works in partnership with the City of Cape Town and the Cape Town Environmental Education Trust (CTEET) to ensure that there are rangers who can help guard and monitor the penguins.

READ | Scientists are trying to 'bribe' South African penguins with sexy decoys and enticing bird calls

Along with a colony at Betty’s Bay, Simon’s Town is the only land-based breeding colony for the endangered species, which usually breed on islands. African penguins are only found in South Africa and Namibia.

Since the turn of the 20th century, 99% of their population have been wiped out. Scientists predict they could be "functionally extinct" (less than 50 pairs in a colony) by 2035.

Populations on the west coast of South Africa have suffered the most, with an over 60% decrease in the last 20 years.

Other colonies in Namibia, which have low populations of about 5,000 pairs, are currently being affected by avian flu.

While most the rest of South Africa is dead quiet during lockdown, SANCCOB is currently at the peak of its annual egg season. Its Table View centre has admitted 300 abandoned African penguin eggs since January, and most are currently hatching. Some 120 chicks are currently being hand-reared.

You can now ‘adopt’ an abandoned African penguin egg by making a donation of R300 online.

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