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ollowing an oil spill in Algoa Bay, 92 oiled African penguins have been admitted to our Cape St Francis centre for rehabilitation, as well as 61 chicks belonging to the affected birds.
Most of the penguins are heavily oiled, with some having as much as 90% of their bodies covered in oil. Oil breaks down the natural waterproofing of a penguin’s feathers, so the bird cannot regulate its body temperature, either in the ocean or on land, often leading to hypothermia.
Oil also causes skin and eye irritation and when ingested (a natural reaction for penguins is to preen their feathers to remove the oil) can result in ulcers, a reduced immune system and organ failure. Birds admitted to the centre are usually dehydrated, stressed and weak. They need intensive care to improve their strength and hydration, before being treated with a solution to break down the oil, washed and dried.
Donations of old newspapers and towels are greatly needed. If you can help, please drop off these items at SANCCOB’s centre in Cape St Francis (next to the Seal Point Lighthouse) or at the Wimpy drop-off point in Jeffrey’s Bay.
The birds were rescued from St Croix Island by SANCCOB, SANParks Marine Rangers from Addo Elephant National Park and the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) in a collaborative rescue operation and taken to our centre in Cape St. Francis and the South African Marine Rehabilitation Centre (SAMREC) in Port Elizabeth. Although the exact cause of the oil spill is still unclear, authorities are investigating.
We are hoping that the cost of the actual rescue and rehabilitation work will be covered by shipping insurance, once the identity of the vessel is confirmed. However ongoing donations towards our work and to ensure that SANCCOB is prepared for such emergencies – are always needed and greatly appreciated.
BE PART OF THE NEXT RESCUE
Last winter, caring supporters like you helped us save 30 oiled penguins and their 4 chicks from Bird and St Croix Islands.
The birds were taken to our seabird centre in Cape St Francis, where trained staff and volunteers washed, fed and cared for them for 4-6 weeks, while they regained their strength and the natural waterproofing of their feathers.
The chicks, which were less than three weeks old and weighed only 500 grams, were hand-reared at SANCCOB. All 34 birds were successfully released back into the wild.
WHAT WE DO
SANCCOB saves seabirds
HOW TO HELP
FOUND A BIRD?
all us any time of the day or night. SANCCOB is a 24-hour Seabird Rescue Centre and will respond to all seabirds in distress, including African Penguins, Cape Gannets, Terns, Cormorants, Seagulls, Oystercatchers, Albatrosses, Petrels, Pelicans and other marine birds.
+27 (0)21 557 6155
+27 (0) 78 638 3731 (after hours & weekends)
CAPE ST. FRANCIS
+27 (0)42 298 0160
+27 (0)82 890 0207 (after hours & weekends)
Depending on the nature of the injury and the location of the seabird, we will dispatch one of our own Rescue Units, offer stabilisation advice or put you in contact with the nearest organisation that can assist.
What to do when you find an injured/sick/oiled seabird:
- Please approach any seabird with care – some, such as Cape Gannets and African Penguins, have sharp beaks.
- Have with you a towel or blanket and wear protection over your hands and eyes.
- Throw the towel or blanket over the bird to catch it, ensuring that the bird is able to breathe.
- Place the bird in a large box if you have one, after first ensuring that there are holes for air.
- Keep the bird in a warm quiet place until help arrives