The African penguin Spheniscus demersus, was previously named the jackass penguin due to the donkey-like braying call of the territorial males. African penguins are found in the coastal areas of South Africa and Namibia. Due to the collection of penguin eggs and guano in the years before they were protected, these penguins were almost wiped out but they have, in recent years, made a remarkable recovery. Oil spills now pose the major threat to their existence.
Although normally found on small desolate islands in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, a breeding colony has successfully established itself on a mainland beach called "Boulders Beach" near Cape Town. Here tourists have the unique opportunity of wandering amongst the penguins a few minutes walk from their motor cars.
While the penguins have become accustomed to the presence of humans on this beach, filming penguins underwater requires much patience and skill. One of their main predators is the
cape fur seal. The nesting pairs take turns in leaving the fledglings to forage for food far out to sea. They depart a few hours after sunrise each day and return before dusk, often running a gauntlet past the seals that lie and wait for them near the beach. It is, therefore, understandable that any large object in the water, especially clad in a black wetsuit, means danger to these very fast and agile penguins.