Oiled penguins get scrub down

Oiled penguins being washed at Sanccobs facility in Table View.

Two oiled penguins “celebrated” World Penguin Day with a good scrub at a Table View sea-bird conservation centre last week.

The Boulders Beach penguins landed up at the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB) the same week that the need to protect their species received global attention.

They were rescued after falling foul of an oil leak from a car parked near the penguin colony and popular tourist spot.

Ronnis Daniels, Sanccob spokeswoman, told Tabletalk the foundation admitted more than 1 500 ill, injured, abandoned and oiled endangered African penguins to its sea-bird centres annually in the Western and Eastern Cape.

Ms Daniels said there were now fewer than 23 000 breeding pairs left in the wild – a 98% drop from 80 years ago.

Almost all of the 18 penguin species in the world are found in the southern hemisphere, apart from the Galapagos penguin that can be seen foraging north of the equator.

Sanccob is one of the oldest penguin-rehabilitation centres in the world.

The 33-year-old Table View facility is undergoing a much-needed upgrade. It’s the biggest building project the foundation has undertaken in its almost 50-year-long history and will include a new sea-bird hospital. But the hospital has a hefty price tag. Ms Daniels said two thirds of the R15 million needed to complete the building had come from the National Lotteries Commission, but it was up to Sanccob and its supporters to raise the remaining R5m by the end of the year. The public can visit https://sanccob.co.za/donate-brick.php to donate a brick, at R50 each, to the project.