Two rand later, it’s back to penguin business!

Two rand later, it’s back to penguin business!

On Thursday, 14 September 2017, SANCCOB successfully released a rehabilitated African penguin after removing a R2 coin from its stomach via an endoscopic procedure on 3 August 2017.

The penguin was admitted as a chick on 22 June from the Stony Point penguin colony in Betty’s Bay, with the help of CapeNature Penguin Rangers. It was in a poor condition and showed signs of mild feather loss.

Under our care, the chick’s general condition improved but a few weeks later it started to regurgitate its fish. The bird was taken for radiography and a round, foreign object was discovered in its stomach. SANCCOB’s Clinical Veterinarian, Dr David Roberts, said, “We took a number of x-rays from various angles which clearly indicated a bright white, metallic opacity and, to our amazement, we realised it was a coin.”

After a stomach pump procedure failed to remove the coin, we connected with Karl Storz Endoscopy South Africa (Pty) Ltd, who provided the ideal endoscopic equipment needed for a minimally invasive procedure. The apparatus used was a Canine Flexible Bronchoscope 5.2mm that has small grabbing forceps to grapple and remove small objects, and the Tele Pack Vet X LED was the monitor supplied for the vet staff to find their way to the R2 coin. Dr Stephen van der Spuy, SANCCOB’s Executive Director who is also a qualified veterinarian, stepped in to drive the endoscope with assistance from Dr Roberts and Christél Grobler from Karl Storz Endoscopy.

“It was a tricky procedure that required adept manoeuvring of the device in order to safely and accurately remove the coin from the penguin’s stomach, in a procedure which took approximately one hour,” said Roberts.

After the removal of the coin, the penguin was treated for minor stomach ulcers. It started eating well, put on weight and grew into a healthy juvenile. On 14 September, the penguin was fully cleared by the veterinary team and was released back into the wild.

The R2 coin removed from the penguin is being auctioned on our website. Products and services from supporting corporates and small businesses are regularly auctioned to raise funds for our vital seabird rescue and rehabilitation work.