Thirteen rehabilitated African penguins were released back into the wild at Stony Point penguin colony in Betty’s Bay. Cape Nature and the South African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal birds (SANCCOB) set the waddling group free on October 27 2018.
These African penguins were released as part of the Penguin Palooza held at Stony Point Nature Reserve in Betty’s Bay.
The event was held to raise awareness of the endangered status of the African penguin, found along the cold Benguela system.
South Africa once housed an abundance of African penguins but due to various threats, only 2% of the historic population is left.
According to a statement issued by Cape Nature, Stony Point is the only colony that has shown an increase in the number of African penguins in the last decade.
Three of the penguins were rehabilitated adults and suffered from an eye injury, a deep cut to the flipper and a throat laceration. It is unknown as to what caused these injuries.
A flipper wound caused one of the penguins to be stuck in the phase of moulting. Moulting is a process whereby penguins shed their feathers for new ones. During this phase they are unable to enter the water and without their waterproof feathers are unable to feed – resulting in extreme weakness.
A total of 10 of these penguins were blues (not yet adult penguins), admitted as abandoned chicks, as their parents could not attend to them during moulting season.
These young penguins experienced the wild for the first time on Saturday at the release.
Watch the video of the release below:
Currently, African penguins are considered endangered, making rehabilitation and conservation crucial to the survival of the species.
Here are some general facts about the African penguin of the Western Cape.
Picture: Cape Nature Penguin Palooza at Stony Beach/ Kyle Lestrade