SANCCOB, together with BirdLife South Africa (BLSA), have taken a bold and crucial step to legally challenge the decision taken by the office of the Minister of the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE), who has implemented no-take fishing zones for a period of 10 years around six key African penguin breeding colonies. These closures are aimed at reducing the competition between African penguins and the commercial small pelagic fisheries; however, the closures implemented are inadequate in size and we do not foresee them providing a meaningful benefit for the species.

Biodiversity Law Centre (BLC): “The BLC initiated landmark litigation in the Pretoria High Court in the interests of Africa’s only penguin species: the Endangered African Penguin (Spheniscus demersus). Instituted against the Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, the applicants’ challenge seeks the review and setting aside of the Minister’s 4 August 2023 decision on the closures to fishing around key African Penguin breeding colonies, instead of biologically meaningful closures. 

The African Penguin faces extinction in the wild by 2035 if more is not done to curb the current rate of population decline. The crisis is driven primarily by their lack of access to prey, for which they must compete with the commercial purse-seine fishery which continues to catch sardine and anchovy in the waters surrounding the six largest African Penguin breeding colonies. Critically, these six colonies are home to an estimated 90% of South Africa’s African Penguins.” READ FULL MEDIA RELEASE HERE.

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SANCCOB is a registered non-profit organisation with the primary objective to reverse the decline of seabird populations through the rescue, rehabilitation and release of ill, injured, abandoned and oiled seabirds – especially endangered species like the African penguin.

What We Do

Saving southern Africa's seabirds since 1968.


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

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SANCCOB is recognised internationally as a leader in the field of seabird rehabilitation. We treat an average of 2,500 injured, sick and oiled seabirds annually.

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Chick Rearing

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

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Oiled Wildlife

SANCCOB works with various stakeholders to ensure authorities take appropriate preparedness action to mitigate oil
spill risks.

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We offer various engaging lessons for children and adults, including tours of the facilities, presentations and interactive, learning programmes for school groups.

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

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

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Penguin & Seabird Rangers

SANCCOB employs conservation staff in colonies in the Western Cape and Eastern Cape of South Africa that are under the protection of conservation authorities to monitor seabirds.

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Get Involved

Whether you donate time, talent, items or cash, you will assist SANCCOB to make a difference to the survival of the endangered African penguin and other seabirds in distress.

We are passionate about seabird conservation and invite you to partner with us.

Contact Us

Found A Bird?

Call 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, gulls, Oystercatchers, Albatrosses, Petrels, Pelicans and other marine birds.

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. Gently 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.