The oceans and marine life are crucial for all life on this planet to thrive, but marine environments are increasingly under threat from overfishing, pollution and climate change. This results in many species becoming endangered, including the African Penguin.
The African Penguin
The African Penguin is the only penguin of the 18 species found globally to inhabit the coastlines of Africa. Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa, is home to 50% of the African Penguin population, but their population is dropping at an alarming rate – of approximately 3,355 breeding pairs counted at the end of 2021, only 2,618 breeding pairs are accounted for currently. That’s a 22% decrease in penguin numbers in only 10 months.
What is causing this concerning trend?
A combination of factors is involved with the top reasons being:
- Overfishing, which leaves little food for the penguins and other marine animals
- Pollution in the form of oil spills from refueling shipping operations in the bay, which has two shipping ports
- Plastic in the ocean which entangles marine life
- Exceptionally rough storms resulting from climate change, causing nests to become flooded and the chicks to be abandoned by the parents
Why are penguins so important?
Penguins are one of the main ‘indicator species’ in coastal environments, meaning that the health of their population reflects on the overall health of their environment. The fact that penguin numbers are declining so rapidly informs us that there is a serious issue with their overall habitat. This needs to be addressed fast, as it’s not only the penguins who are suffering, but all other marine life living in the habitat.
To be part of the solution, Mantis will be supporting an organization that was established in 1968, SANCCOB – The Southern African Foundation For The Conservation Of Coastal Birds. SANCCOB is a registered non-profit organisation with the primary objective to reverse the decline of seabird populations through the rescue, rehabilitation and release of ill, injured, abandoned and oiled seabirds – especially endangered species like the African penguin.
There are two SANCCOB centres in South Africa, one in Cape Town and one in Nelson Mandela Bay, also home to our Mantis No5 Boutique Art Hotel. The Hotel has chosen SANCCOB as one of the NGOs it supports, committing to help raise awareness about the plight of the African Penguins and encouraging guests to ‘adopt a penguin’. Hotel guests will be introduced to this opportunity through our adorable CCFA penguin mascots with the option to adopt a penguin at the local SANCCOB Centre.
How can you Adopt-a-Penguin?
You can choose to adopt a resident penguin or a penguin undergoing rehabilitation for release back into its natural habitat. The adoption donations contribute to the feeding, medical costs and overall care of the bird. You will receive an adoption certificate and an image of your chosen penguin, and, in the case of adopting a rehabilitation penguin, you get to name your penguin.
A bonus for guests staying at our Mantis No5 Boutique Art Hotel is that the SANCCOB Centre is only a 10-minute drive from the hotel so you can plan a visit to SANCCOB during your stay!