Stripes – African Penguins


Good grief, I learnt something really strange today. I didn’t know that birds can swim! I didn’t even know they liked water. But yes, my Anina human told me that there are birds called penguins that can’t fly and instead swim in the sea and “fly” under the water to catch fish.

That’s the dumbest thing I ever heard. Why don’t they just tell their humans to go get some pilchards in a can? Oh gosh, maybe they don’t have any humans to look after them.

Anina said penguins are ‘endangered’. That’s a word I’ve heard a lot since I started learning about the eco-thing – all sorts of things seem to be endangered. Anyway penguins are much endangered, especially the ones that live in Africa. They are called African Penguins. Well, duh!!!

“People have not been kind to penguins”, Anina explained.” First they started taking their guano.” I looked puzzled, so she explained that it’s penguin poo. Yeah, really!

“So the penguins had nowhere to build their nests.”  “That’s right, Stripes, most penguins live in such rocky places that the only way they can burrow to make their nests is into their own poo.”

Well, that doesn’t sound very nice, but if that’s the only home you’ve got, what is a penguin mother to do to keep her baby chicks safe from the sun, wind and nasty predators? That’s another big word I remember – it means an animal that eats other animals.

Anina said humans also catch the fish that the penguins eat so that the penguins have to swim far and wide for their next fish lunch and sometimes come home without supper for their babies who have to go to sleep hungry. I suppose catching fish makes penguins predators too. I hadn’t thought of that.

“But did you know, Stripes, that there are also some very kind humans who do look after African Penguins?”  She said the kindest penguin human, called Wilfred, cares for every one of them, so he built a special sanctuary where they care for penguins that get hurt or covered with oil. When the penguins feel better again, they can go back to the sea. He also gives them little beach houses where they can raise their babies safe from other mean birds like gulls.

I wonder if Wilfred also likes cats …


Activity suggestions:

Where do African Penguins live?

What do they eat?

Are they endangered?



This story can be printed as a an A5 pamphlet by downloading the pdf file below, printing it back to back on A4 paper (landscape orientation) and then folding in half. -> AFRICAN PENGUINS A5


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