SANCCOB has a long history of disease research, with numerous publications resulting from work conducted by SANCCOB researchers and veterinarians. SANCCOB admits over 2000 birds consisting of over 35 different species each year, allowing for the opportunity to conduct disease surveillance and test for several diseases in seabirds admitted. Penguin and Seabird Rangers collect seabird carcasses enabling SANCCOB to test samples from deceased birds without having to disturb seabirds in the wild. However, certain samples are also taken in the wild to get a better picture of possible carriers and transmission pathways as some birds may be potential carriers but not show symptoms and are thus not admitted to SANCCOB.
Avian Influenza Outbreak
A severe Avian Influenza outbreak mostly affecting Swift terns in South Africa in 2018 and a following outbreak affecting African penguins in Namibia in 2019, SANCCOB received a grant from the Rupert Nature Foundation to continue its disease surveillance work. Regular testing of seabird carcasses admitted to SANCCOB led to the detection of another Avian Influenza outbreak affecting seabirds in 2021, which unfortunately affected several seabird species and caused the death of over 24,000 endangered Cape cormorants.
SANCCOB plays an important role in disease surveillance in southern Africa and is being recognised by the South African government as a key partner in contingency planning and responding to disease outbreaks affecting seabirds.
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.