Dead penguins

I have not one, not even two, but THREE dead penguin stories for you today.
Now there’s something that other blogs never give you. (I would imagine, anyway.)

First off: Penguins killed by Penguin Malaria.

Yes, sad news, but avian malaria – causal agent Plasmodium relictum, and spread  by mosquitoes like other malarias – is actually fairly common around the world, even in the UK. Ironically, the only place that birds are safe from avian malaria is Antarctica, famous as being the big cold bit down at the bottom of the world, and frequented by… er… penguins. At the last count, Longleat had lost 25 of its 34 Humboldt penguins (Spheniscus humboldti). Let’s hope their efforts to save the remaining 9 are successful.

Secondly: Penguins killed by Caracal (Caracal caracal).

Yes, sad news, but… hang on… haven’t we done this one before?

Well, yes, we have. Here:

A spate of penguin fatalities has occurred in Simon’s Town over the past two weeks. The City has identified the predator by installing trap cameras in the area. The images confirmed the presence of a large caracal.

But that was in July, and that caracal was captured and relocated (we told you about that bit, too).

But Disa (for it was she what was eating all of the penguins) was radio-collared before her relocation, and this time around, it’s not her. Because when one caracal is moved, another will happily take its territory. Especially when that territory features large numbers of lovely plump penguins.

The City of Cape Town urges residents and tourists to support and assist efforts to capture a caracal which is currently preying on endangered African penguins in the Links Crescent and Froggy Pond areas of Simon’s Town.

Disa was quickly captured and successfully relocated, but as we now see, that did little to help the penguins. Assuming that the authorities can work their magic with this new caracal equally quickly – and that things follow the same pattern – I’m hopeful that we can report on more penguin predation before Christmas.

And then there was: Penguin killed by Beagle.

Yes, sad news, but etc etc. This photo was sent from home this morning:

dead-penguin

Happy Feet, it ain’t.

The beagle was found upstairs (the beagle is not allowed upstairs), chewing this penguin chick from our daughter’s bed (the beagle is not allowed to chew the kids’ toys). Essentially, that white cloudy stuff you can see there is spilled penguin brains, and I now have the difficult task of performing some sort of surgery on this juvenile Emperor Penguin (Aptenodytes forsteri) before my juvenile daughter (Homo sapiens) sees it.

Any retribution on the beagle – while satisfying – would sadly be logically pointless as dogs (Canis lupus familiaris) are pretty stupid and can’t associate punishment with the actual crime unless they are actually caught in the act.

Either that or they’ve just made us humans think that’s how things work, in which case, they’re actually pretty clever. And devious. And destructive. And oh, why, oh why did we have to get a beagle?

Welcome to Cape Town, Africa

No, we don’t have lions roaming the CBD or elephants in our back gardens (most of the time) like what they do up North, but Cape Town still likes to remind us from time to time that it is still officially in Africa.

Like when a caracal is killing penguins just down the road, for example.
Wouldn’t get that in the Kruger National Park, now would you?

A spate of penguin fatalities has occurred in Simon’s Town over the past two weeks. The City has identified the predator by installing trap cameras in the area. The images confirmed the presence of a large caracal.

Caracals are great. They look really cool and that is primarily because actually, they are really cool.
Sadly though, our African penguins are endangered (although the caracal probably isn’t aware of that fact), and so this penguin killing has got to stop.

In its efforts to protect the penguins, while at the same time managing the sensitive ecosystem as carefully as possible, the City will be closing off a portion of the Simon’s Town shoreline to members of the public from 13:00 today 8 July 2016 until further notice.

The area which will be closed off stretches from Windmill Beach to Froggy Pond in Simons Town. The area will be marked off with tape and City Law Enforcement will be monitoring the site to ensure that no member of the public accesses the area during this time.

‘We ask that members of the public exercise patience during this time. The City hopes to trap the caracal, collar the animal with a radio tracking device and to move it away from the penguin colony, but still within its current home range. Cordoning off the area will also help us to deploy other passive mitigation measures to discourage the return of the caracal to the Burghers Walk to Froggy Pond area,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Energy, Environmental and Spatial Planning, Councillor Johan van der Merwe.

Epic. Can you imagine Johan getting home this evening?

“Oh, hello Johan dear, how was work today?”
“Actually pretty good, thanks. I closed off a section of local shoreline to prevent a large predatory wildcat from eating any more loveable and endangered seabirds. You?”
“We… well, we had a 2 hour meeting about July’s sales targets. And there were some quite nice biscuits on the trolley.”

Johan wins again. Despite only having lemon creams with his coffee.

More local caracal news as and when we get it.

Simonstown, March 2007

I’m so full of snot today that I feel it may be a case of home-bathkids-dinner-bed. Thus, noting that blogging is not included in that plan, just before I instigate part one, a quota photo.

It was two years ago to the day that we packed the car and the 10½ month old boy and headed down to Simonstown for the weekend, staying in a house with an implausibly steep driveway and a seemingly infinite number of steps up to the front door.

The weekend was spent (as I remember), poking penguins and playing football on the beach. And drinking:


Yes, it was empty*

The rest of the flickr set is here.

I have just noticed that my plan for the evening also fails to mention any red wine. It would surely be foolish to miss out on the immune-boosting benefits of vitamin C that come as a helpful by-product of fermented grapes. Especially the rather decent (and rather local) Steenberg Merlot.

I shall be sorting that out with dinner, never fear.

* once he’d finished with it, it was, anyway.