Watch this video of our fundraising campaign to build a new seabird hospital at
SANCCOB’s Cape Town Centre, and help us save more seabirds.

This is one of
the lucky ones
Countless others die from
plastic pollution in our oceans


'Adopt' a penguin
Choose a home pen penguin
or adopt an egg or chick
undergoing rehabilitation
for release back into the wild


Roll up your sleeves
come and help clean, feed and care for penguins
and other recovering seabirds


Raise funds for

Pennies for Penguins




hen a seabird, turtle, whale, dolphin or fish gets entangled in nylon fishing line … or swallows plastic bottle tops, bags or drinking straws … it usually dies.

Only a very few lucky ones manage to survive long enough for someone to notice their plight and rescue them, or bring them to SANCCOB for help.

Plastic garbage tangled around beaks, flippers, wings or feet can weigh a bird down, prevent it from flying, swimming, feeding or protecting itself. Death may come from suffocation, drowning or starvation. Plastic that’s mistaken for food and eaten can cause blockages or prevent other food from being digested.

We don’t know how many birds and animals die alone in the sea each year as a result of plastic pollution. What we do know is that we are killing our oceans. And it has got to stop! Please help stop the scourge of pollution now .

You’ve probably heard the scary statistic: by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean. According to the 2017 United Nations Clean Seas Campaign, there are already an estimated 51 trillion microplastic particles in the ocean!

Global initiatives have been launched to find ways of cleaning up the mess. But that’s only half the solution. We urgently need to make sure that every man, woman and child on the planet understands the need to dispose of plastic responsibly … so more of it doesn’t end up in the sea.

Because the fact is that around 80% of plastic in the ocean comes from land. Single use ‘throw away’ items like plastic bags, drinking straws, cool drink or water bottles, and fast food polystyrene containers are swept by wind and rain into rivers which carry them to the sea. And because plastic is virtually indestructible, there they remain.

It’s going to take a huge effort to save our seas … and you may feel completely overwhelmed. But if every person just does something, we can win this battle.

Please make your donation now towards the cost of saving seabirds that have been injured, trapped or poisoned by plastic. You’ll also help us teach kids about the harmful consequences of littering, through vital education programmes.
Hartlaubs gull

Discarded nylon fishing line is a deadly hazard to seabirds. If it becomes tightly wrapped around the bird’s beak, it can lead to starvation. Fishing line can also get tangled round a bird’s legs or wings, causing an open injury or preventing them from flying.

The dead albatross chick with plastic debris in its stomach (below) was photographed on Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge in the Pacific Ocean in September 2009.

Hartlaubs gull
Make your own pledge to dispose of plastic responsibly:
  • Remember the 5 ‘Rs’ – rethink, reduce, reuse, recycle, rot
  • Take reusable grocery bags with you to the store and refuse extra plastic wrapping
  • Refuse unnecessary plastic drinking straws
  • Cut the tamper proof seal on bottles before recycling (the ring that gets left behind when you open a bottle) so it can’t get stuck on birds’ beaks
  • Stop buying facewash/skin care products containing ‘micro beads’
  • Recycle all plastic
  • Pick up plastic garbage on your beach walks. Yes, it’s unpleasant – but dirty hands are better than dead birds, turtles, dolphins and whales!
  • Make other people aware of plastic pollution – through word of mouth, social media, etc.


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.


SANCCOB saves seabirds


SANCCOB provides a 24/7 rescue service for sick and injured seabirds and abandoned chicks. We respond to oil spill disasters along the South African coastline.


SANCCOB is recognised internationally as a leader in the field of seabird rehabilitation. We treat 2500 injured, sick and oiled seabirds annually.


Our specialist chick rearing unit saves African penguin eggs and chicks that have been abandoned, for subsequent release back into the wild.


We offer various engaging lessons for children and adults, including tours of the facilities, presentations and encounters with our Ambassador penguins.


We offer 3 and 6 month internships for adults, as well as a zoo and aquarium keeper exchange programme and veterinary experience courses.


Ongoing research increases our understanding of seabird species’ behaviour, diseases and other factors that impact on their long-term survival.


More news



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)

+27 (0)42 298 0160
+27 (0)82 890 0207 (after hours & weekends)

+27 (0)41 583 1830
+27 (0) 64 019 8936 (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