Xolani Lawo: The Penguin Whisperer

Inspiring Real Adventures

Watching Xolani Lawo talk to penguins is like seeing a kindergarten teacher talk to a bunch of mischievous 4 year olds: sweet, persuasive and strict. And for some reason they appear to know what he’s saying. Everyone gets a name, must finish their meal, do their exercises, be nice to each other, and of course he keeps an eye on their love interests. You can see why his colleagues call him “The Penguin Whisperer”. That and of course his self-proclaimed superpower to receive very few bites.


Xolani is a Senior Bird Rehabilitator at the African Penguin and Seabird Sanctuary in Gansbaai. He is committed to protecting the only penguin species found in Africa.

In 1980 there were 45,000 penguins on Dyer Island, just off the coast of Gansbaai. Today we are looking at less than 1,800. The predicted date for their extinction from the wild is 2026.

Xolani and his community of dedicated conservationists have come up with a few creative ways to delay the extinction of the species. Anything and everything to beat 2026.

At the Penguin Sanctuary they help sick or injured penguins and rehabilitate them before releasing them back into the wild. They’ve also built some nifty penguin huts on Dyer Island that provide shelter to the young. These nests also keep vulnerable eggs cooler in unusually warm temperatures.

Around Gansbaai they’ve installed fishing line bins to encourage anglers to dispose of fishing lines and plastics. Too many a sea creature has arrived in their care with lines tangled around bodies or insides.

Xolani believes the true answer lies in teaching kids about marine conservation and getting them involved and excited about penguins. ‘We need to create an army of young penguin protectors who are passionate about saving the species.’

It’s so gratifying to see Xolani stepping up where others can’t and don’t. He is an ambassador for us all to the world of the wild. And thankfully, humans don’t get much nicer than this.

Written By: AWEMYBRU

Watch full video here: https://youtu.be/IOQv_ishMmw

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