An oiled African penguin, brought to SANCCOB for rehabilitation and released back into the wild in 2003, was recently spotted on Robben Island.
According to data collected from its flipper band, the penguin in now in its 14th year of breeding, thus bolstering numbers of this highly endangered species. Over the years, it has occupied nine different nest sites in the same area of the colony and has successfully fledged at least 11 chicks since 2003. This year’s chick was examined and it was noted as ‘a fat and healthy-looking penguin’.
Since 2013, Passive Integrated Transponders (PITs) have replaced the use of flipper bands. These small microchips are inserted underneath the skin, the same way domestic pets are marked. PITs are used to identify each individual penguin so that valuable data about the African penguin population can be collected.
Before release, SANCCOB implants each penguin with a transponder, enabling us to evaluate the survival, breeding and location of the penguins if they cross the strategically placed transponder readers in the breeding colonies. Data obtained from the transponder readers have given valuable insight into movements of SANCCOB hand-reared chicks, suggesting that they, too, are making breeding attempts at several of the colonies.
Cases like these illustrate the positive impact that SANCCOB’s efforts have on the conservation of the African penguin species and that previous patients are flourishing in the wild. SANCCOB is building a new seabird hospital in Table View, Cape Town, which will enable it to save more seabirds for generations to come. An urgent fundraising drive to complete building before the end of 2017 is currently underway and donations can be made online by clicking here.