Since the major oil slick on the Table View beach front caused by the SELI 1 on Saturday, 1 September 2012, SANCCOB (the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds) have admitted 219 birds affected by the oil slick. These include 189 oiled African penguins, 29 chicks who were admitted due to their parents being oiled and 1 oiled Cape Gannet. The oil slick was drifting in Table Bay, which is one of the main feeding grounds for seabirds from Robben Island and the West Coast National Park.
SANCCOB sent out a team on 8 September 2012 lead by Dr. Nola Parsons (SANCCOB’s Veterinarian and Researcher) to assist the team from the Animal Demography Unit (University of Cape Town), Earthwatch, Birdworld Farnham Surrey and the Robben Island Museum. The focus was on sweeping the island’s nesting areas for oiled birds and identifying chicks that were abandoned as a result of their parents being oiled.
Dr. Nola Parsons said, “Checking birds in the colony is time-consuming and takes many people to slowly work through the thick bushes checking every bush and burrow. But occasionally an oiled bird is found and can be removed, if the bird is sitting with chicks or eggs, they are also removed. We were further challenged by quite a lot of rain on Sunday morning but removed a total of 29 oiled penguins, 1 injured adult, 2 chicks and 2 eggs over the whole weekend. We are a little bruised and battered with some sore bodies but happy that we were able to help the dedicated researchers that have been doing this all week.”
To date, SANCCOB’s dedicated team of staff and local and international volunteers have washed 88 oiled birds. All of the birds are in a very good condition and are responding well to the rehabilitation process. It will be another 2-3 weeks before the first group of birds will be deemed fit for release back into the wild.
Currently, SANCCOB has the situation fully under control and there is currently no need for additional volunteers. We do, however, ask the public to help with the rehabilitation of these oiled African penguins, by kindly visiting http://www.sanccob.co.za/you-can-help.html to make a donation, adopt a penguin or become a member of our organization today.