Monday 9 September 2019

First Penguins in Cape Town

CAPE ARGUS – 1939, March 6 & 15

The first Emperor Penguins ever seen in Cape Town arrived aboard the German vessel Schwabenland from the frozen South. Photographed with them is their “keeper”, Mr. E. Barkley who hoped to deliver them to the Hamburg Zoo.

Shortly after these penguins left Cape Town, a Golden Crest Penguin was found in the Cape Docks and a home was sought for this penguin.
One of the Golden Crest variety was found in the Cape docks by Mr. R. Charter, of the Division of Fisheries. At first, he thought it was the penguin which “deserted” from the American freighter West Isleta. A number of Jackass penguins were sent to the World Fair in this ship, but one slipped away before the vessel cleared and has not yet been found.
The penguin is about 14 inches high and has two golden “eyebrows,” the distinctive mark of the variety. Mr. Charter then thought the penguin might have escaped from the German ship Schwabenland, which had on board several Emperor and Adelie penguins, which it brought from the Antarctic and is taking to Germany. The Emperor penguins were the first of their kind ever to be seen in Cape Town.
According to inquiries made by Mr. Charter at the South African Museum, the Golden Crest penguin must have come from the Antarctic where they are to be found in large numbers. It is the only one in the Union at present.
It is thought that the penguin may have come in one of the whaling ships, but so far no one has come forward to solve the solution of how this Arctic bird arrived in Cape Town docks.
Today the penguin was taken to Mr. Charter’s home for the weekend. But he is not anxious to keep it and will gladly give it to anyone who wants it.

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