A tiny, juvenile rockhopper penguin that washed up on the Eastern Cape shores has just completed its flight to its new home here in Cape Town, where it will become part of the colony.

The young rockhopper spent a month in the SANCCOB’s Intensive Care Unit due to a bone infection identified in both of its feet, luckily due to quick treatment the rocky is now in excellent health.

“SANCCOB and the Two Oceans Aquarium have a long history of working together. Their help is always indispensable when it comes to caring for new bird arrivals at the Aquarium,” said Shanet Rutgers, Penguin Keeper at the Two Oceans Aquarium. “SANCCOB’s excellent team of veterinary staff and volunteers took it upon themselves to fatten up this malnourished little bird, and give it a full panel of health screenings. We are incredibly grateful for their assistance and support.”

On July 29 the penguin was transferred to the Two Oceans Aquarium and was introduced to its new penguin and human family. The new addition needed a name and the aquarium left it to the public to choose one, after 180 votes were tallied the winning name was “EL” short for East London and a nod to the main character of popular series Stranger Things.

Young EL is still nervous and getting used to its new home but the aquarium is sure it will soon be the most popular bird in the group.

Young EL is still nervously getting to know the other penguins, although spirits are high and we have no doubt that this bird will soon be the most popular youngster on the beach. EL is already making friends with her new human family, and uses every opportunity to explore the Aquarium. At this stage it is still unclear whether EL is male or female.

EL will remain at the Two Oceans Aquarium, where the penguin will live amongst the largest colony of northern rockhopper penguins in South Africa, be cared for by the Aquarium team of professionals, loved by thousands of visitors and will help contribute to veterinary and biological research.

Watch little EL’s first day at the aquarium here:

Find the full blog, video and photos and updates of little EL here.

Pictures: Two Oceans Aquarium

Article written by

Aimee Pace

Aimee is an avid gamer, enthusiastic yogi and animal lover. Addicted to anime, coffee and plant-based meals. Current favourite pastimes include, sewing and learning Japanese.