Albatross gets VIP treatment
On 6 April 2012, SANCCOB welcomed a very special patient to their seabird rehabilitation centre: a Black-browed Albatross. Found on 12 islands throughout the southern oceans and listed on the IUCN Red list as endangered, the adult albatross landed on a pelagic fishing boat on its way to Cape Town andwas fed fish by the crew for a few days before docking at the harbour. The ship’s crew contacted SANCCOB and a volunteer responder was sent out to fetch the seabird which can easily live for more than 70 years in the wild. Upon arrival, the bird was very weak and underweight but luckily the SANCCOB rehabilitation team had no injuries or poisoning to report.
Nursing the gracious seabird back to health, the SANCCOB rehabilitation team took extra care in feeding and hydrating the bird, and making sure it got sufficient time in their local pool to waterproof its feathers. Over the course of 2 weeks, the bird’s weight, hydration and waterproofing steadily improved and the team confirmed its blood tests came back satisfactory. On Friday 20 April, the albatross was ready to be released back into the wild, but only in a very special way. Courtesy of the Waterfront Boat Company, who regularly does SANCCOB’s seabird releases, a special high-speed ‘Jet Boat’ was sent to Cape Town harbour to personally chauffeur the albatross to Robben Island’s West side for release. Once back in its natural habitat, the albatross was quick to broaden its large wingspan and scoop the first gust of wind back home.