Anna Castle's Penguin Mitzvah Project
Those who know me, know that I have a deep love for animals.
For my mitzvah project, I saved money until I was able to adopt and name my very own penguin, Sardine.
My goal is to make people aware of the rapid decline of the African Penguin and to tell them why and how they can assist in small ways to protect and conserve our coasts and oceans and to help reverse the decline of seabird populations.
Sardine is one of the many coastal birds that SANCCOB (South African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds) rescue.
SANCCOB is a non-profit organization whose main objective is to rescue, rehabilitate and release ill, injured, abandoned and oiled seabirds- focusing on the endangered African Penguin species which are predicted to be extinct by 2035.
There are less than 15 000 African Penguin breeding pairs left in the wild, so every bird rescued counts to prevent their extinction.
The challenges these birds face are many;
Climate Change, Reduced Fish Stocks, Oil Spills, Predators and other Marine Pollution.
Raising awareness is important to me because declining seabird populations such as the African penguin are also an indicator of the health of the ocean ecosystem.
Considering that the ocean produces over half of the world’s oxygen, absorbs carbon dioxide and regulates climate, keeping it healthy should be a priority.
Simply reducing, re-using or recycling – using less or no single use plastic packaging or straws- where possible, would make a large impact if we all take action.
Plastic often ends up in the ocean and seabirds – and more than 700 marine species including over 100 000 marine mammals! - are known to be killed by eating plastic litter and entanglement.
Humans are responsible for the unnecessary waste that affects other species.
Beach clean-ups can also be done while enjoying a walk- keeping a bag with you and picking up bits of litter along the way.
Eating less fish would also prevent overfishing. Fish are integral for the survival of marine birds in their first 2 years.
Every little bit helps, so please consider these minor changes and ways to help rescue Sardine and his ocean family.