South African Penguins

Infamous as Nelson Mandela's former incarceration site, this island is a hotspot for seabird biodiversity, including threatened bank cormorants, African black oystercatchers, and 15,000 African penguins. It also lies in the middle of major shipping lanes, and the risk of oil spills to local seabirds has been well documented. The worst oil spill occurred in 2000, when 13,000 penguins were "oiled" on Robben Island alone. Most of these were cleaned and released, but the future of this penguin population (reduced by 90 percent in the last century) is by no means assured.

You can help a team of scientists coordinated by Dr Les Underhill, Mr Mario Leshoro, Dr Robert Crawford, and Professor Peter Barham monitor seabirds on the island and help reduce the impact of the various threats to this fragile environment.

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What to Expect?

Your team will participate in a variety of research activities to monitor the health of this unique island environment, working with several experienced researchers and staff members. You’ll conduct population surveys on penguins and other seabirds to determine their breeding success and survival and help with ongoing trials of a revolutionary new automatic system designed to detect and recognize individual penguins as they pass remote cameras.

Your research will bring you face-to-face with the daily rhythms of the island and the problems seabirds face, such as predation by seals and competition with fisheries. Besides raucous seabirds, Robben Island harbors several species of antelope, ostriches, ibises, and egrets. On your recreational days you can take the ferry to the mainland and enjoy some of Africa's premier tourist spots, including the Cape Town Waterfront and Table Mountain.

  • Program ID: # 2017
  • duration:
    1 to 2 Weeks
  • location:
    Robben Island, South Africa Robben Island
    South Africa
    33° 48' 24.2424" S, 18° 21' 58.392" E
    ZA
  • Fitness level:
    Moderately Fit
  • Closest Airport:
    Cape Town (CPT)
  • Costs From:
    Over $3000
  • Program Type:
    Environmental & Wildlife Programs
    Learn Abroad
  • Click Here for More Info

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