June 15, 2017 Our Stories 0


African penguin chick

African penguin orphans from Dyer Island

Winter made a stormy entrance in the Western Cape during last week. Howling winds and massive waves reminded us where the name the Cape of Storms originated from. With the advances in weather forecasts, we were well aware of the possible impacts of the storm.

“A serious prophet upon predicting a flood should be the first man to climb a tree. This would demonstrate that he was indeed a seer.”
― Stephen Crane

Deon Geldenhuys from CapeNature acted as the Dyer Island “seer” and together with his team climbed the proverbial tree, or in this case landed on the island. Deon was well aware that high waves caused flooding and the subsequent drowning of African penguin chicks during a similar storm in 2008. Low-lying nests housing chicks were identified and the chicks were moved to high-lying areas. Some areas prone to flooding was fortified by packing sandbags. The team remained on the island during the storm and continuously monitored the chicks in the relocated nests. After the storm, a total of 7 orphans were removed from the island and admitted to APSS.

The chicks varied in weight between a mere 175 grams to 300 grams. Unfortunately, two of the chicks died shortly after admission. The remaining five are doing well and picking up weight at the required rate. These chicks will be at the APSS until they are fully fledged, waterproof and have enough fat reserves to face the perils of the Big Blue.

Active conservation interventions like the removal of abandoned African penguin chicks have become necessary due to the plummeting African penguin population. We are literally at a stage where #EveryBirdCounts.

At the African Penguins & Seabird Sanctuary, we believe that rehabilitation is but one of the interventions required to save this iconic species from extinction. Rehabilitation is reactive and we support proactive interventions. This includes habitat preservation through projects like the artificial nest box project and the declaration of more Marine Protected Areas.

African penguin chicks at APSS

These little, cute, aaaaahh, fluff balls, will quickly grow into noisy, begging toddlers. During their time at the facility, they will consume a truckload (literally) of grade 1 sardines. Please feel free to be a penguin star and contribute to their food fund by clicking on our Give to Save link below.