Last samples for gannet health survey

gannet-sampling venessa--nola-2With support from CapeNature and their staff on Bird Island, Lambert’s Bay, SANCCOB’s Veterinarian and Researcher, Dr. Nola Parsons, and Venessa Strauss, Conservation Director, collected the last batch of samples from Cape Gannets needed for the Seabird Health Survey project. Twenty gannets that were sitting on the edge of the breeding colony were selected, and blood, guano, and trachea swabs samples were collected and brought back to SANCCOB for processing. There are still a few samples outstanding from cormorants in the wild, but Dr. Parsons will be looking at the results of the sampling and testing from a range of wild seabirds from all the southern African breeding colonies from the past 3 years in the next few months. With the support and expertise from experts around the world, Dr. Parsons will eventually produce a final report mid-2013.


The Seabird Health Survey has been made possible by the generous support from the Mystic Aquarium in Georgia, and the Sea Research Foundation at the Mystic Aquarium, USA. Disease at present is an unknown factor in the wild African penguin and seabird populations. The aim of this study was to establish the presence of any disease agents and to quantify the risk posed to the African penguin and other seabirds by these diseases, as well as to establish baseline values for future reference.



With the increased conservation status of the African penguins (reclassification from Vulnerable to Endangered (IUCN Red Data List, June 2010), the ultimate aim of studying seabird diseases is the conservation of declining seabird populations, and to monitor the health of the marine ecosystem in relation to local (e.g. availability of food) and global (e.g. global climate change) impact factors.

What We Do

SANCCOB is at the forefront of saving African penguins and other threatened seabirds.  It never takes a day off and its rehabilitation team is on 24-hour call.

SANCCOB deploys its specialist emergency response skills in Africa, the Indian Ocean region, Antarctica and Sub-Antarctic. Through its training academy it equips people to work in the environmental sector; and a passion to instill pride and knowledge about marine conservation drives its education programmes.

SANCCOB is a leader in seabird disease research.

LATEST AFRICAN PENGUIN FIGURES released by South African Department of Environmental Affairs (2012):

18 683 breeding pairs in the wild in South Africa (excludes Namibian figures)





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  • Adopt a Penguin (email)
    Adopt a Penguin (email)
    Adopt and name an African penguin that has been cared for and released back into the wild by SANCCOB.
  • City Slickers DVD
    City Slickers DVD
    15 years ago, a handful of African Penguins, normally found only on remote islands off the Southern African coast, stumbled across one of the Cape's most beautiful and popular tourist beaches.
  • Peter the Penguin Book
    Peter the Penguin Book
    A fun and informative book about Peter the penguin and focuses on his experience of the 2000 Treasure Oil Spill that put 40 000 penguins at risk.
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    If you love penguins or would like to know more about these charismatic creatures then SANCCOB's specialist "behind the scenes" tour is a must. Fill in our booking form, send it to us and you
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    Adopt a Penguin (post)
    Adopt and name an African penguin that has been cared for and released back into the wild by SANCCOB.
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    1 Year membership for South African residents with Pensioner status. Click on 'Product Details' to purchase.
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    Adopt a Penguin Egg (post)
    Adopt an African penguin egg that has been hatched at SANCCOB. After hatching, the penguin chick is cared for at SANCCOB until it is ready to be released back into the wild.
  • Abby’s Aquarium Adventures
    Abby’s Aquarium Adventures
    Join Abby on a adventure that will take you from the rivers in the Amazon the oceans of the world. Discover the creatures that life in and near the sea of the people who get to work with them on a daily basis....Abby may even let you in a few secrets.

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