The Northern Rockhopper penguin that has been seen along the beach at Soetwater Reserve, Cape Town has drawn attention from all around the country. Reports and pictures of the bird indicate that it is in full moult, which generally is a physiologically stressful period for penguins. During the moulting period penguins are not waterproof but they can be seen to go for quick swims in the shallow water to cool down or have a drink of water. Penguins are also generally more susceptible to disease and stress as their immune systems are compromised during the moulting period, which generally lasts about three weeks.
Northern Rockhopper penguins breed on Tristan da Cunha, Inaccessible and Gough islands, which are situated in the South Atlantic ocean, and are adapted to survive in much cooler conditions then the South African climate. These birds are occasionally seen as ‘vagrants’ here in South Africa; in the past a number of these penguins have been admitted to SANCCOB in a weak, emaciated condition.
SANCCOB would like to urge the public to keep a respectful distance from the penguin to ensure that it is not disturbed. The City of Cape Town will continue to monitor the bird’s condition and if there is any concern for the bird’s health or condition, SANCCOB will be on stand-by to provide care for the bird. Issued by the SANCCOB Conservation Department.
For any queries, please contact SANCCOB on 021 557 6155.