Adult birds have left the nests

Abandoned Cape gannet chicks and juveniles
are counting on us – and we can help if we


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Choose a home pen penguin
or adopt an egg or chick
undergoing rehabilitation
for release back into the wild


Roll up your sleeves
come and help clean, feed and care for penguins
and other recovering seabirds


Raise funds for

Pennies for Penguins




e’ve just admitted 26 abandoned Cape gannet chicks and juveniles – rescued by CapeNature from Bird Island Nature Reserve in Lambert’s Bay – to our seabird centre in Cape Town. The chicks have been abandoned by their parents, who have had to leave their nests to follow the sardine run up the East Coast. More chicks are expected to be left to fend for themselves in the weeks ahead.

As we know, nature can be cruel sometimes. And this is one of those times – with the sardine run unfortunately clashing with the hatching of chicks and young birds that are not yet ready to leave the nests, swim, fly and catch their own food. Without intervention these youngsters will die.

Unless you will act now to help us save them.

Right now, we are in urgent need of extra funding to buy fish, and provide expert care and veterinary treatment to ensure we don’t lose a single precious chick.

The Cape gannet is listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and only 124 754 breeding pairs of Cape gannets are left in the wild, with nearly 80% found in Algoa Bay.

These beautiful birds breed in only six localities world-wide: three islands in southern Namibia and three in South Africa – Bird Island Nature Reserve in Lambert’s Bay, and Malgas Island and Bird Island in Algoa Bay. Numbers are dwindling at an alarming rate, mainly as a result of a decline in their food source – sardines and anchovies.

These are ‘our’ birds – and we have to act promptly to save them.

So, please will you make your donation right away – to ensure we can successfully raise these birds and release them back into the wild when they are old enough to fend for themselves?

Then keep an eye on our Facebook page where we’ll be sharing regular updates on the progress of these orphans.

Fun Facts about the Cape gannet

  • Cape gannets have subcutaneous air pockets on their chests acting as cushioning to break their fall when they dive and hit the water at high speed.
  • The clutch typically consists of a single bluish egg, rarely two, and is incubated by both parents using the webs of their feet, which receive a rich blood supply.
  • These beautiful birds are known for their white and black feathers and distinctive yellow crown and this adult plumage is acquired when they are 4-5 years of age.
  • Gannets have serrations near the tips of their beaks to assist them when diving for fish.

Abandoned Cape gannet chicks admitted to SANCCOB from Bird Island Nature Reserve will be hand-reared and released when they are mature enough to fend for themselves.

With your help, these chicks will grow into stunningly beautiful adult birds.


Last winter, caring supporters like you helped us save 30 oiled penguins and their 4 chicks from Bird and St Croix Islands.

The birds were taken to our seabird centre in Cape St Francis, where trained staff and volunteers washed, fed and cared for them for 4-6 weeks, while they regained their strength and the natural waterproofing of their feathers.

The chicks, which were less than three weeks old and weighed only 500 grams, were hand-reared at SANCCOB. All 34 birds were successfully released back into the wild.


SANCCOB saves seabirds


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


SANCCOB is recognised internationally as a leader in the field of seabird rehabilitation. We treat 2500 injured, sick and oiled seabirds annually.


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


We offer various engaging lessons for children and adults, including tours of the facilities, presentations and encounters with our Ambassador penguins.


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


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


Volunteer open day

Volunteer Open Day Want to find out all about what volunteering at SANCCOB involves? Join us this Saturday, 2 June,…

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all 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, Seagulls, Oystercatchers, Albatrosses, Petrels, Pelicans and other marine birds.

+27 (0)21 557 6155
+27 (0) 78 638 3731 (after hours & weekends)

+27 (0)42 298 0160
+27 (0)82 890 0207 (after hours & weekends)

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.
  • 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