Rare penguin rests at Sanccob

The eastern rockhopper that has been brought to Sanccobs facility in Table View.

A rare penguin is awaiting release back into the wild from a Table View conservation centre.

The eastern rockhopper penguin was flown from Port Elizabeth to Cape Town and recently welcomed at the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB), in Table View.

The rockhopper was first admitted to Sanccob’s Cape St Francis centre at the end of February after being discovered by an Italian tourist who was visiting Jeffrey’s Bay.

The penguin was in a poor state and had not reached its optimal weight to achieve a successful moult. It was treated for a bacterial infection and given supplements to help it moult.

Nicky Stander, Sanccob’s rehabilitation manager, said that after the penguin had been admitted to the Table View facility at the end of last month Sanccob had raised the issue of its release with the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA)

“There is currently no legislation stating that rockhopper penguins cannot be released into the wild, but previously, it has been considered best practice to keep the birds in captivity due to the high risk associated with disease transferral from South African penguin species and sub-Antarctic species,” said Ms Stander.

The DEA agreed the penguin could be released once all blood tests were clear of infection.

Sanccob is now waiting for a suitable mode of transport to release the rockhopper into a natural habitat in the Southern Ocean en route to Marion Island where it comes from.

It’s egg season at Sanccob and you can help save the endangered African penguin by adopting an egg for R300.

At some point in the next 30 days your egg will hatch at Sanccob’s specialised chick-rearing unit, which will be the chick’s home for three months after which it will be ready to be released back into established wild penguin colony.

The R300 contribution will help pay for fish, veterinary care and other essential items that are needed to hatch an egg and raise a chick. Supporters get an adoption certificate and two O-Fish-Ally Sanccob screensavers.

Go to www.sanccob.co.za or email moreags@sanccob.co.za for details.