COVID-19 lockdown made it easy for these penguins to venture through an empty South African town

A group of adorable penguins were captured taking a stroll through an empty neighborhood in Cape Town, South Africa, as people stayed home due to COVID-19 lockdown orders. 

Local resident Mikaela Slier filmed a video of the three penguins waddling down an empty street. Slier told Storyful that the creatures are a normal sight for locals. 

“To feed themselves, the penguins need to move to and from the ocean (to their nests) via the roads/streets, which is an issue for us on any normal day,” Slier said.

Normally, the penguins have had to venture through the busy town, navigating through traffic or large crowds. Slier says people in the town usually make way for the aquatic birds who embark on the journey to find food to bring back to their colony which Slier says is close to where she filmed the video. 

For the penguins, the lockdowns have made their fishing journey a bit easier, as the open streets have enabled them to get to their destinations at a faster pace (or waddle). 

The Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB) shared the video of the penguins adventuring through the South African town, adding that some of their rangers kept a watchful eye on the birds to make sure their travels were safe despite the lack of obstacles. 

On April 9, South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a two-week extension to a lockdown aimed at preventing further coronavirus cases but has devastated the local economy. 

In the wake of the virus outbreak in the continent, South Africa has streamlined testing with mobile testing units and screening centers established in the country’s most densely populated township areas, where an estimated 25% of the country’s 57 million people live.

Currently able to conduct 5,000 tests per day, South Africa will increase its capacity to more than 30,000 per day by the end of the April, according to the National Health Laboratory Service.

South African Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said the country must find out “what is happening in our densely populated areas, in particular the townships” where he said health workers would “continue to venture forth in full combat by proactively conducting wall-to-wall testing and find all COVID-19 affected people in the country.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report