Help needed with oiled penguins

2016-08-24 06:00
One of the rescued penguins.

One of the rescued penguins.

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THE battle continues to ease Algoa Bay’s oiled African penguins of their fate, and the public is being asked to assist in the rehabilitation process of this critically endangered species.

So far 137 African penguins have been taken in for rehabilitation.

The oil pollution is, according to indications, due to an oil transfer from one ship to another on Sunday, August 14, near the Coega harbour.

Zolile Nqayi, spokesperson for the Department of Environmental Affairs, said the investigation into the cause and nature of the oil pollution is still ongoing.

Capt. Neville Noble of SAMSA (South African Maritime Safety Authority) on Monday said that they are investigating the possibility of a second oil spill which was apparently caused by a passing ship just off Algoa Bay, on Wednesday, August 17. More details regarding this would be made available during the course of the week.

SANParks rangers on Algoa Bay’s Bird Island worked tireless-ly over the weekend to catch all the oiled penguins so that the seabirds could be rehabilitated, said Fayroush Ludick, regional spokesperson for SANParks.

Even members of the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) went out to the Port Elizabeth Islands Group (St Croix, Jaheel and Brenton) to help with the rescue. With their help, another 47 oiled penguins, including 15 chicks, could be taken for rehabilitation.

The smeared penguins were taken to the South African Marine Rehabilitation and Education Centre (SAMREC) in Port Elizabeth and the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB) in St Francis respectively.

The NSRI has appealed to the community to donate towels and newspapers at these centres.

Juanita Raath, SANCCOB rehabilitation coordinator, said the newspapers and towels are indispensable aids in the rehabilitation process.

“Both are used to drying off the birds after the wash, then making a bed for each bird and it is also useful to wipe the excess fish off the birds’ beaks.”

The penguins’ den is cleaned three times a day to avoid diseases and newspapers are then used up very quickly.

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