Sunday, December 1, 2013

African Penguins in the News

SANCCOB cares for abandoned penguins

A total of 155 abandoned African penguin chicks have been admitted to SANCCOB centres. Picture: Aletta Gardner/EWN 
| 2 days ago

CAPE TOWN - The Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB) on Friday said 155 abandoned penguin chicks have been admitted to their centre this month.

The chicks have been at their centres in Table View and Cape St. Francis since the beginning of November.
The centre says it is important to try and save every African penguin as they are endangered species.

The birds are abandoned at the end of the breeding season just before the parents start their annual moulting cycle.

Every year during summer, SANCCOB admits more than 300 abandoned African penguin chicks from Stony Point, Boulders Beach and Robben Island.

SANCCOB's Francois Louw says although it is a timely and costly process, it is crucial to save every endangered animal.

“They will be fed six times a day so it’s a very busy period for our staff. They will receive fish and they will get something we call fish smoothie, which basically helps them with their sustenance.”

They are expecting at least another 300 chicks before February.

Louw says there are less than 19,000 breeding pairs left in South Africa.


Every year between November and February the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB) takes in up to 400 abandoned penguin chicks. Picture: Aletta Gardner/EWN

The chicks are admitted to SANCCOB’s Table View and Cape St. Francis rehabilitation centres from Stony Point, Boulders Beach and Robben Island in the Western Cape and Bird Island in the Eastern Cape. Picture: Aletta Gardner/EWN

SANCCOB says it has noted the chicks came in slightly later than previous years, which suggests a change in the breeding cycle among the colonies. Picture: Aletta Gardner/EWN

When chicks are admitted they are taken into a unit where they are numbered so their progress can be tracked over a three month period. Picture: Aletta Gardner/EWN

Some of the permanent residents at SANCCOB are older birds who would not survive in the wild. Picture: Aletta Gardner/EWN

'Hopper' the rock hopper penguin is one of the newcomers, who was obtained as a mate for resident female 'Rocky'. Picture: Aletta Gardner/EWN

The organisation says it costs between R500 and R1000 to rehabilitate one chick and it relies on donations to fund this. Picture: Aletta Gardner/EWN

Fewer than 19,000 African penguin breeding pairs remain in South Africa with a 66% decline in the population in the last 10 years. Picture: Aletta Gardner/EWN

SANCCOB's new chick–rearing unit sees the birds being fed six times a day. Food includes pilchards and fish smoothies as well as an electrolyte fluid and water to help them stay hydrated. Picture: Aletta Gardner/EWN

Survival rates vary each year, but SANCCOB's target is to release 80% of the chicks back into the wild. Picture: Aletta Gardner/EWN

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