Centre rescues, rehabilitates and educates

2018-10-24 06:01
Penguins at the SANCCOB rescue station in Cape Recife.

Penguins at the SANCCOB rescue station in Cape Recife.

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THE SANCCOB facility is situated close to the largest African penguin and Cape gannet colonies on Bird Island and St Croix, which makes it ideal for the treatment and release of seabirds in distress.

The facility is also equipped and able to deal with any oil leak disasters near the PE coast.

Luc Hosten, marketing coordinator at SANCCOB, says that the centre’s main objectives are to rescue and rehabilitate penguins and sea birds, and to educate the public about environmental issues.

The centre is a registered non-profit organisation and between the PE, Cape St Francis and Cape Town centres treats approximately 2 500 seabirds per year, which includes the African penguin, cormorants, albatrosses, gannets, oystercatchers, pelicans, seagulls and others.

Currently the centre has 63 penguins that are being rehabilitated.

“Visitors to the centre are taken on a tour and are educated about the dangers of plastic pollution.

“We have a Discovery Room where visitors can get close to some taxidermied seabirds, seals and penguins, and there is even a live (harmless) snake to pet,” Hosten said.

The centre has a treatment room with a special incubator for when a little chick needs that extra care.

During the tour, visitors may go to the penguin pool and watch as the penguins and sea birds are being fed by staff.

During the PE Express’s visit, the children from the Penguins Learn and Play Centre in Walmer were on a tour and particularly enjoyed the feeding experience.

They urged the penguins to “jump, jump, jump” off the rocks into the water and shrieked with enjoyment at the splash that followed each jump.

“Of course, we are not a zoo, and we make it clear that these penguins and sea birds are wild animals that can be dangerous, which is why staff wear protective gear when interacting with them.”

The centre regularly hosts beach clean-ups and the popular full moon walks where a walk is taken from the centre to the lighthouse to watch the sunset, and back again. The next full moon walk is taking place this coming Friday from 18:15. Entry for the moonlight walk is R50 for adults and R30 for children and pensioners.

The public can also join in the penguin releases – an official send-off to penguins that have been rehabilitated and who are ready to be released back into the ocean.

The centre has a tea room, called the Flying Penguin, where visitors can order light meals and beverages. There is also a shop where visitors may purchase souvenirs. All proceeds go towards rehabilitation and feeding costs of the seabirds and its operational needs.

  • The centre is open from 09:00 to 16:00, Mondays to Sundays.
  • Entry is R40 for adults and R25 for children and pensioners
  • The contact number for the centre is 041 583 1830.

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