On this day in auto history – June 23rd

Wed 23rd Jun 2021

It was on this day in 2003 that the South African city of Cape Town erected the world’s first road sign alerting to "penguin crossings”.

The unusual signs - which received worldwide publicity - were installed around the Boulders Beach area of the Cape Peninsula National Park which housed a 4000-strong African penguin colony.

The jaywalking penguins had long lived side by side the residents of Simon’s Town but a growing number had been attempting to cross a busy thoroughfare in search of suitable nesting areas during the breeding season, leading to a large spike in road fatalities.

The erecting of the signs, and the publicity that came with it, did indeed help reduce penguin fatalities in Cape Town, so much so that other countries with sizeable penguin populations such as New Zealand, Argentina and Chile quickly followed suit.