Life is hard if you’re a penguin.
If it’s not humans overfishing your pilchards and (allegedly) changing your climate, it’s large wild cats eating you on the beach. And if you survive them, you’ve got to look out for malaria and beagles. And whalers.
Nope. Being a penguin ain’t easy.
Now though, they face their latest, smallest but possibly biggest challenge yet. Viruses.
Because yes, penguins are birds, and birds get Avian Flu. This is the same H5N8 strain that has been affecting the Western Cape (and beyond) for several months now. I mentioned it back in August here.
We think about it affecting farms (which of course it does), but no-one ever considers wild birds, which – in the Western Cape – include penguins.
And while Boulders Beach – our most local (but not necessarily our best) penguin colony – will remain open for tourists, they will have to take precautions:
Visitors should change shoes and clothes if visiting poultry farms to prevent contamination from one site to another.
Which is important because the chicken farms just outside Robertson have really upped their tourist game recently, and it would be sad to waste all their effort.
Seriously though: fingers crossed that this doesn’t do a lot of lasting damage.