Saturday, November 12, 2011

Travel to South Africa Complete

After packing up, two long flights, a lengthy layover at Heathrow and convincing a passport agent that while I was very excited to visit South Africa I would be returning to the U.S. at some point, I’m here! Though the forecast called for rain, my first day in Cape Town turned out to be sunny and gorgeous.

Sunny Cape Town

For those of you that need a geography refresher, Cape Town is on the western side, the Atlantic Ocean side, of South Africa. Because of the Atlantic Ocean influence, Cape Town is keep cooler that many parts of South Africa and the ocean temperatures are...well…cold. However, this makes it perfect for African penguins!

Cape Town on the left...Atlantic Ocean!

I have had many people ask me “how can penguins live in Africa when it’s so hot?” We do hear a lot about the Emperor penguin who use Antarctica as a nesting area or see commercials with penguins playing on ice bergs. Believe it or not, most penguin species do not live any where near Antarctica, the African penguin included. This temperate species can live with warmer air temperatures but like all penguins rely on cold water temperatures. These cold, oxygen rich waters bring lots of nutrients to the party and before you know it, the food web has exploded! And it all boils down to lots fish which means lots of food for penguins. And that’s why we’re here…penguins.


Now while I’ve arrived, there is one more Aquarium employee who is currently making the trek to South Africa. Paul Leonard is part of the penguin husbandry staff and one of those responsible for the daily goings-on in our penguin exhibit. He’ll also be working at SANCCOB where his expertise in everything penguin will be well received (check out the blog on his experience here). Once he arrives, we have only one day to get acclimated and settled before we show up for our first day of work. So no rest for the weary! It will be a few busy days ahead but ones that make me excited with the endless possibilities ahead!

Learn more about the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds, or SANCCOB and their Chick Bolstering Project

Follow the adventures of Jo's co-worker, Paul! Aquarium penguin biologist Paul Leonard is also in South Africa to study and care for African penguins in the Southern Hemisphere! Read about his experience on the Penguin Blog.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for sharing this post, I could not think of anything more perfect seeing penguins in one of the most beautiful countries in the world. Thank you for sharing this post! Keep up the great posts.