Non-interference appeal: Rockhopper sighted in Kommetjie

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 birds condition and if there is any concern for the birds 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.


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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