Endangered African penguins have been a source of pleasure to visitors of the South African community of Simon's Town, mixing with people as they go about their penguin activities, which includes the most important one of finding a nest and breeding.
Now these critters would be the celebrities of a fresh eight-part show on Netflix beginning Wednesday called "Penguin Town," that follows a number of those birds and shows their characters, by a middle-aged pair nicknamed"the poster penguins for monogamy" into a young mentor searching for his first mate.
"It became very clear very quickly that this was similar to watching a reality show like'Love Island' or'Big Brother,''' stated Cayley Christos, a field producer on"Penguin Town" and co-owner at creation company Red Rock Films.
"I understand people don't adore anthropomorphizing all the time, but it's hard not to do when they clearly have these characters," she added. "And so we didn't really have a choice but to make it really personal."
"I jumped at the opportunity because I watched a lot of the raw footage and I was just kind of bowled over how sweet and enchanting it was."
One of the many 1,000 breeding pairs that arrive each breeding period, the filmmakers capture relatable characters, including a whimsical misfit they call"Junior" and a pack of troublemaking penguins known as the"Car Park Gang."
"You really do kind of latch on to a few of these characters," said Oswalt. "You follow every one of these little stories and you're rooting for these guys."
Underneath the sweetness is serious business. Just 2% of the African penguin population is left out of the amount the existed 100 decades ago. Christos cites estimates that the species has approximately 10 years ago before extinction.
"Living among people is not simple. It is not the ideal place for them. They should be about an island, however, they have no choice. They'd rather face these huge giants walking about them all day long than die," she explained.
The flightless, aquatic birds first started showing up in Simon's Town on the Western Cape in the early 1980s as boat traffic around their normal habitat increased. They generally arrive in November and remain for six months.
"Slowly, slowly, slowly they understood this was rather a secure, nice spot to be. They weren't getting assaulted by land predators," said Christos.
At first, the arrival of the colony was greeted with some dismay by taxpayers. "Like any fantastic wildlife, they float around and they blossom in people's gardens. And so that I think it's been a fascinating adjustment," she said.