The Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB) has put out a call for volunteers to help with a large number of Cape cormorants it has received to care for.
The cormorants have been in the care of the organisation since the middle of January after ranger Andile Mdluli conducted a patrol on Robben Island and saw that almost all of the island’s thousands of adult cormorants had left. They had left their chicks behind, who had become easy pickings for predators.
Initially, Mdluli assumed that the parents had flown off to escape the heat of the day but when he returned the next morning, they had still not returned. Thus, an operation was launched to take the chicks to SANCCOB.
92 of 800g-900g #Capecormorant chicks moved to a specially erected aviary on-site today. Sadly, about 9% of chicks rescued died within the first 24 hours of admission. Deaths & sick chicks in ICU lessens every day. Rescue story at https://t.co/IMrkHHuKJH. #endangeredspecies pic.twitter.com/5KACFMHZPT
— SANCCOB (@SANCCOB) January 24, 2021
A similar incident occurred the very next week at a neighbouring island and now the organization has over 1700 chicks in its care.
“It’s been 3 weeks since the chicks arrived in poor condition and after intensive veterinary care at our Cape Town centre we have witnessed them strengthen each day,” SANCCOB said via its Facebook page.
The cormorant chicks currently consume close to 380 kilograms of sardines daily.
Spent 4 hours tube feeding endangered cape cormorant chicks this morning at @SANCCOB. 1700 of them were abandoned on their nests on Robben Island, presumed because of lack of food for parents to feed them. Hats off to all the regular volunteers, it was tiring & smelly work! pic.twitter.com/lG93RjQj8j
— Michaela Strachan (@michaelastracha) February 2, 2021
Help share our wish list of urgent items or donate towards purchase at https://t.co/QOE0NAXAQK. Every gift helps save lives! All #Capecormorant chicks are fed fish tails now, 3 times a day & majority are free-feeding. #endangeredspecies @robben_island #savesseabirds #supportNGO pic.twitter.com/XEXOmMpzhK
— SANCCOB (@SANCCOB) January 18, 2021
As it is a large number of birds that need to be cared for, the organization desperately needs volunteers to help with the following tasks:
Volunteers will be required to prepare the fish and formula to feed the chicks, as well as wash dishes and disinfect surfaces.
This will include washing and drying towels, as well as disinfecting and cleaning surfaces at the centre’s common areas.
This will entail working with a high-pressure hose to clean and disinfect all mats and crates.
“We are very fortunate to have such incredibly caring supporters,” SANCCOB said in thanking those who have donated items and tools to help care for the chicks. “Such support means less operational expenses so that funds raised can be used where it’s most needed for fish, veterinary supplies and rehabilitation consumables.”
Those who would like to volunteer can call or send a text via WhatsApp at 0766825130 or visit the official SANCCOB Facebook page.