Chick Bolstering Project

Since the project’s inception in 2006 following a mass abandonment incident, conservation authorities made the decision to rescue chicks to be artificially hand reared at SANCCOB. Since then, SANCCOB has received abandoned penguin chicks annually which prompted the need for a specialised Chick Rearing Unit in 2011. This facility is based at SANCCOB Cape Town and includes artificial incubators for eggs, hatchling incubators and dedicated equipment for hand-rearing penguin and other seabird chicks. 

Key Partnerships to Make an Impact

Through SANCCOB’s African Penguin and Seabird Ranger project, together with the conservation authorities, seabird nests are closely monitored, and interventions are made when it is clear that parents have abandoned their eggs and/or chicks. Abandonment occurs only at some colonies where chicks are abandoned when adults start moulting and are unable to go to sea and provision for their chicks. A lack of food also causes abandonment, whereby breeding penguins abandon their offspring to ensure their own survival. Extreme weather events such as very hot weather, or high rainfall threaten nest sites, causing parents to abandon their chicks and/or eggs. Colonies located in urban environments, such as the Simon’s Town seabird colonies experience challenges with adult penguins laying eggs in unsafe areas, such as car parks or gardens. SANCCOB’s Rangers rescue these eggs and transport them to SANCCOB for artificial incubation, whilst the parents are translocated back inside the colony.

Donate To This Cause

As an ongoing initiative, the Chick Bolstering Project has several fundable components, including costs associated with rescuing and rearing chicks during periods of mass abandonment.

Donate To Chick Bolstering Project