First hatchling of 2017 released
On Thursday, 11 May 2017, SANCCOB successfully released the first African penguin hatchling of 2017 which hatched on 7 February and was hand-reared at our Cape Town seabird centre. The chick hatched from the last abandoned egg admitted on 31 December 2016 during the annual ‘African penguin Chick Season’.
The abandoned egg was rescued from Boulders Beach in Simon’s Town by SANParks penguin rangers. Once successfully hatched, the bird was hand-reared in our specialised Chick Rearing Unit, receiving round-the-clock care until it reached a healthy weight of 500g. The chick was then moved to the nursery area, where it remained for a further six weeks until it weighed 1.5kgs and was ready to move to the main pen area. Referred to as a ‘Blue’, the bird is now three months old, weighs an impressive 3kgs, and with waterproof feathers checked, transponder implanted for monitoring, it was ready for release into the wild at Stony Point in Betty’s Bay with the help of CapeNature.
The rescue and hand-rearing of orphaned eggs and chicks has been identified as an essential and successful conservation intervention to reverse the decline of the African penguin population and research has proven that hand-reared chicks fare as well as naturally-reared chicks in the wild.
SANCCOB’s Cape Town centre is currently undergoing an exciting upgrade to its seabird hospital, which will include the construction of several new pens and preparation areas, used to care for ill, injured, oiled and abandoned African penguins and other seabirds. The new facility will enable us to increase our capacity to accommodate penguin chicks hatched from eggs, seabirds in need of rehabilitation, as well as the influx of abandoned chicks and eggs during the annual ‘Chick Season’ from October to January.
Construction is currently underway but there is still a shortfall in funds to complete the project. SANCCOB is in need of public donations to raise the necessary funds by the end of the year. Donate-A-Brick (or two!) today for just R50 each, and help SANCCOB fulfil its critical role in saving the endangered African penguin species and other seabirds.