penguin whisperer
Photo Credit: Buffalo City Tourism

Xolani Lawo has a pretty unique talent. He has a way with penguins so special, it’s earned him the title of the Penguin Whisperer. But, his mission is about a lot more than just chatter:


Gansbaai, South Africa (04 January 2024) — Xolani Lawo is something of Gansbaai’s very own Doctor Dolittle. Affectionately dubbed the ‘Penguin Whisperer’, this Senior Bird Rehabilitator is an inspiration to conservationists and sea lovers of all ages. And, it’s said that the penguins don’t mind him too much either.

Xolani, who hails from Mdantsane township in the Eastern Cape, has long been a protector of the penguins. Inspired by the difference rehabilitators can make in giving endangered species like African Penguins a fighting chance, it’s his job to help tip the odds of survival back in their favour.

But, Xolani may never have discovered his calling or incredible ability of communicating with the voiceless, had it not been for a bit of havoc.

It all began in 2006 when a younger Xolani worked as a Lighthouse Guide in Cape St Francis. After a reported oil spill happened, he took it upon himself to offer his help in cleaning the penguins who had been impacted by the spill. It was during this aftermath that he discovered his knack for understanding the seabirds. And the rest is happy history!

Xolani and the rest of the team at the African Penguin and Seabird Sanctuary (APSS) are amongst many other animal heroes in our country who work tirelessly to help, heal and give hope to wildlife from plains to sea floors.

Sources: Buffalo City Tourism
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About the Author

Ashleigh Nefdt is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Ashleigh's favourite stories have always seen the hidden hero (without the cape) come to the rescue. As a journalist, her labour of love is finding those everyday heroes and spotlighting their spark - especially those empowering women, social upliftment movers, sustainability shakers and creatives with hearts of gold. When she's not working on a story, she's dedicated to her canvas or appreciating Mother Nature.

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