The idea of the penguin waddle started in 2010 when Gabrielle Harris, then curator of Mammal & Birds at uShaka Sea World, felt overwhelmed by escalating environmental concerns.
She contacted her colleague Hayley McLellan who at the time, was caring for the penguin colony at the Two Oceans Aquarium to chat about her concerns and ideas which included walking from the Namibian border to Cape Town. Her idea was to raise general environmental awareness with a specific focus on the plight of the African Penguin along the route.
Hayley managed to convince Gabby that neither of them were in a position to tackle something quite so epic and together came up with a more manageable plan to walk from Gansbaai to Simonstown.
With that, the Penguin Waddle and Penguin Promises campaign was launched. The Penguin Promises campaign tagline, “We don’t want your money honey, we want you love” promotes behaviour change which is beneficial to the environment. Individuals who make a promise commit to taking steps to minimise their use of natural resources and harmful environmental practices as they go about their daily lives.
The initial waddle was supported by the Animal Keepers Association of Africa (AKAA) and included a handful of staff members from uShaka Sea World, Two Oceans Aquarium and National Zoological Gardens.