Updated 10 October 2013

Penguins in peril

Our iconic African Penguin is in trouble, struggling to find enough to eat in overfished waters.

The annual Penguin Run highlights the plight of the African Penguin, whose population has dropped 99% since the 1900s.

As fish stocks dwindle, penguins are swimming further to find food – especially now, when they must bulk up before moulting season. Moulting and growing in their new feathers takes three weeks, during which they don't feed and lose over half their body weight.

This week, use Bird Life SA’s interactive map to follow 5 penguins fitted with tracking devices as they look for food off the coast. You can follow the penguins on Twitter too: @_thepenguinrun

Apart from a showing the extraordinary distances the birds travel -- the penguins have already travelled hundreds of kilometers in just a few days -- the project indicates in which areas to focus conservation efforts.

Visit African penguins at Boulders Penguin Colony in Simonstown.

- Olivia Rose-Innes, EnviroHealth Editor

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