A large number of Cape Cormorant chicks were rescued from Robben Island on Tuesday, January 12. The chicks may have been abandoned and left to fend to themselves. Their parents are no where to be found.

Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB) rangers stationed on the island kept an eye on the chicks and when the parents did not return for reasons unknown, they decided to intervene on Tuesday.

The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) Table Bay duty crew were called in to assist the rescue operation, as well as additional SANCCOB rangers and Two Oceans Aquarium staff.

In total 128 chicks were gathered into 16 boxes and taken to SANCCOB in Table View for care and protection. The birds were collected from a location on the northern side of Robben Island.

“Hundreds of Cape Cormorant chicks rescued from Robben Island are currently being admitted to our Cape Town facility in Table View. A robust rescue effort with Robben Island Museum, Two Oceans Aquarium and NSRI was executed today to retrieve the abandoned chicks and transport them to our care,” said SANCCOB.

“Each chick is being assessed and hydrated on admission and our team of staff, interns and volunteers are giving 110% to their care and accommodation. We will keep you informed of the findings of researchers and veterinary staff in the days ahead. Thank you to all involved in the rescue!”

A team consisting of all the agencies involved in the rescue operation remain on the island to monitor the situation. An investigation into the Cape Cormorant parents is underway and if they do not return more chicks may need to be taken into care.

NSRI Table Bay remain on alert to assist further if required, according to Pat van Eyssen, NSRI Table Bay duty coxswain.

Picture/s: National Sea Rescue Institute website

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