Making a difference for the environment since 2011
Eager animal keepers from various animal facilities around South Africa as well as general members of the public take part in the Waddle which spans six days. A distance of approximately 120km is covered on the main roads between Gansbaai – where Dyer Island African penguin breeding colony exists; through Betty’s Bay – Stony Point penguin colony; ending in Simonstown – Boulders Beach penguin colony. The Waddlers are well supported by a driver/s on the team who makes sure that all logistics as well as effective media coverage are attended to.
Waddles 2012-14 received much appreciated vehicle sponsorship from Chrysler Jeep Dodge (2015 African Wildcats; 2016-17 De Kat Safaris) and Old Mutual Finance is, excitingly, the confirmed Waddle sponsor for 2014-2017. Accommodation at each night’s stop is always kindly sponsored by establishments of all types along this coastline.
The response we received from the media in 2016 was most impressive, amounting to a value of approximately R700,000 and this continues to grow year on year. Word of this endeavor has clearly travelled far and wide and each day we experience a handful of local newspapers, radio stations and television groups making a fine effort to cover our journey and the important reasons for it. We always have dedicated social media staff on the team who constantly report on the progress of the event and highlight our sponsors whenever possible.
The public are equally supportive and show their excitement in each town through which we waddle as we hoist our impossible-to-miss bright yellow hoot for penguins signs aloft in order to attract maximum attention. We counted over 7000 hoots for the 6 days walk in 2014! The importance of achieving as many hoots as possible is that this reflects ‘action learning’ meaning that the hootee is bound to remember our campaign more so than the motorist who simply drives on by without participating, simply by hooting of course..
Over the years other conservation organisations and many learners have joined en-route to waddle alongside us for short stretches. It is so inspiring to see others embrace our mission and demonstrate this by either dressing in black and white, creating art depicting their affection for the African penguin, or raising small meaningful collections of money which of course we acknowledge and pay over to SANCCOB (The Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds) for their important rehabilitation work. Once they grasp our vision most people are eager to commit to a personal penguin/environmental promise of their choice.
The Waddle has become a successful annual event and we look forward to increased interest and awareness each year. This entire conservation project would not be possible without the generosity, willingness and actions taken by all who are involved. The African penguin salutes all who have and are yet to join us in this vital campaign