Buffels Bay's famous king penguin to get its own secluded beach

01 November 2019 - 16:26 By Dan Meyer
The king penguin that arrived at Buffels Bay beach this week stands imperiously as hundreds flock from far and wide to take a look.
The king penguin that arrived at Buffels Bay beach this week stands imperiously as hundreds flock from far and wide to take a look.
Image: Steve Benjamin

A king penguin, whose arrival at Buffels Bay beach prompted hundreds of bird watchers to make trips there from all over the country this week, is going to be moved to a safer spot.

The penguin found itself at least 5,000km from home and was spotted by paddlers. Once word got out that the male bird was waddling around the beach, birders flocked there to get a peek.

That interest was something that SANParks have been paying close attention to, and the organisation said on Wednesday that it would monitor the situation and move the bird only if it required medical attention.

However, growing crowds throughout the week have meant that they have taken the decision to relocate the penguin to a “secluded beach” elsewhere in Cape Point.

“We, as SANParks Table Mountain National Park and SANCCOB (Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds), have monitored the bird over the past few days and have come to the decision to safely relocate it this afternoon to a secluded beach (inaccessible to the public) within Cape Point, for the safety and wellbeing of the bird,” SANParks wrote on Facebook.

They said that the penguin was in “very good body condition” after it was examined through a zoom lens by a vet and a government environmental official.

The closest king penguin colony is on South Georgia island, which is 4,784km from Cape Town as the penguin swims.

Nicky Stander, rehabilitation manager at SANCCOB said it was possible that it had swum all the way to Buffels Bay.

“Alternatively, it could have been transported on a vessel and eventually dumped overboard. In such cases, the birds are normally fed by hand,” she said.

SANParks said that they would continue to keep an eye on the penguin as it makes itself at home away from prying eyes.


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