Annual Penguin Palooza – CapeNature and SANCCOB Collaboration

CapeNature and the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB) will premiere a virtual celebration of the sixth annual Penguin Palooza on Saturday, 4 December 2021 at 10h00, across the organisations’ social media platforms. The endangered African penguin species at the Stony Point Penguin Colony is a priority of the collaborative conservation efforts between the entities.

CapeNature and SANCCOB have successfully undertaken proactive measures at the colony to reverse the decline of the African penguin species. One such measure is the employment of an assistant marine ranger based at Stony Point to monitor birds in the wild, contribute to research activities, and to intervene with seabirds in distress when necessary. In the midst of the recent outbreak of the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) outbreak in wild seabirds, over 130 African penguin chicks were rescued due to moulting parents that had left the chicks abandoned in their nests. The chicks were transported to a quarantine facility pending the outcome of HPAI tests and subsequently transferred to SANCCOB’s Cape Town centre for hand-rearing, where they will remain until ready for release. Without this critical intervention, the chicks would have faced starvation, dehydration and anaemia.

“For SANCCOB, partnering with CapeNature has proven to be hugely beneficial for seabirds, in particular the African penguin, and for SANCCOB to meet its strategic objective to bolster wild populations of seabirds, through rescue, rehabilitation, preparedness and response, advocacy, education and public awareness. We rely on the support of the conservation authorities managing the colonies and through our ranger projects we are able to reciprocate with our support. The rate of decline of the African penguin species is alarming and it can’t be reversed without organisations working together through supportive partnerships,” says Natalie Maskell, SANCCOB’s Chief Executive Officer.

The most recent census reveals that the Stony Point penguin colony holds an estimated 1,623 breeding pairs of African penguins, which is 16% of the total South African population of the species. CapeNature and SANCCOB remain committed to the success of its partnership and we celebrate the outcomes that have been achieved together.

This year’s virtual event includes a competition for members of the public to stand a chance to win a two-night stay for four people at CapeNature’s Blacktail Chalet near the Goukamma Nature Reserve. Entrants need only watch the social media premiere, answer a question, like and share the post, and tag five people to stand a chance to win. Terms and conditions apply. (Terms and Conditions available here)

Herewith additional partnered projects that are a good testament of the CapeNature/SANCCOB partnership:
1. In partnership with CapeNature, SANCCOB has hosted four educational lessons with two schools in the Dassenberg Coastal Catchment area. This initiative was funded by the Table Mountain Fund and benefited Grade 7 learners from Mamre Primary School and Chatsworth AME Primary School.

2. CapeNature and SANCCOB have further embarked on an ambitious project with BirdLife South Africa to re-establish an African penguin colony at De Hoop Nature Reserve, brought to fruition in 2021 with the release of 88 African penguin fledglings, hand-reared at SANCCOB, thus further cementing their collaborative conservation efforts.

ABOUT CapeNature
CapeNature is a public entity mandated to promote and ensure biodiversity conservation within the Western Cape. The entity manages most of the mountain catchments and reserves that supply ecosystem services to the citizens of the Western Cape. This requires good scientific data, a sound understanding of fynbos ecology and commitment to the principles of integrated biodiversity management and planning. Most of this work is in remote areas out of the public eye, but has a direct bearing on the quality of life of millions of people in the province.

SANCCOB is a non-profit marine conservation organisation that rescues, rehabilitates and releases southern African seabirds to reverse the decline of seabird species – the endangered African penguin being the flagship species of focus. SANCCOB has two strategically placed centres in Cape Town in the Western Cape, and Gqeberha in the Eastern Cape. Approximately 2,500 seabirds are admitted to the centres each year, of which an average of 50% are endangered seabirds. The organisation also offers training to people to care for seabirds, educates the public to appreciate the unique heritage, and contributes to research which benefits seabirds. Together with donors and partners, SANCCOB is ensuring that seabird numbers remain stable in southern Africa, thus maintaining the balance in an increasingly fragile ecosystem.

Ronnis Daniels
Mobile: 083 388 3762

Petro van Rhyn
Mobile: 071 231 7576