TO THE RESCUE

The Burgher’s Walk African Penguin Conservation Project is a partnership between SANCCOB, the City of Cape Town, SANParks and CTEET focusing on managing the African penguins which are settling out of the Boulders Beach penguin colony. Conservators are appointed to monitor the penguin population and breeding, control public access to the penguins, move the penguins off the roads and out of peoples gardens, and collecting injured birds for rehabilitation at the SANCCOB facilities.

All different penguin species around the world moult once a year. Moulting is the stage in the lifecycle of penguin when they shed the old feathers that can no longer protect them against the climate, and grow fresh, more waterproof feathers to assist the birds with the cold weather and water.

During this time, most of the adults that have the chicks move away from their nesting area and their chicks to try to conserve their energy since they do not feed for at least 15 – 21 days when moulting. This year when the moulting started, an large number of chicks were abandoned.

This is where the Penguin Monitors come in: they catch the chicks with assistance from SANParks, and transport them to the SANCCOB facility in Table View where the chicks are looked after until they are able to swim. Then SANCCOB brings them back to the colony to release them on the beach so that they can get food for themselves out in open ocean.

On 22 November the Penguin Monitors braved the early morning rain and mud and caught 63 chicks which were successfully transferred to the rehabilitation centre.

Well don to everyone who was involved in a successful chick rescue!