Fly by the penguin festival

Penguins being released at last years Penguin Festival in Simons Town.

The Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB) rehabilitates hundreds of penguins annually – this Saturday, a handful of them will be returned to nature at the start of the Penguin Festival.

Five to eight endangered African penguins will be released at Seaforth Beach on Saturday October 5, ahead of the annual festival in Simon’s Town.

Sanccob vet David Roberts said a final check will be done this week to see how many birds are ready to be released.

“Some were weak juvenile penguins; one was covered in oil and others had injuries,” he said.

Most of the penguins admitted to Sanccob come from the penguin colonies of Boulders and Stony Point. Others are found by members of the public all around the Western and Eastern Cape and sometimes even further away.

“We see a lot of underweight penguins, many are so skinny that it has badly affected their health. We also treat penguins with wounds, broken legs or other injuries. Occasionally, we see those that have become entangled in rubbish or that have swallowed a fish hook,” he said.

Sanccob spokesperson, Ronnis Daniels, said the penguin festival raised public awareness about the plight of the endangered African penguin.

The festival is a collaboration by Sanccob, the City of Cape Town, the Cape Town Environmental Education Trust and SANParks. They jointly employ rangers at the bird colonies to monitor birds and assist with daily penguin management.

* Entry to the festival is free. Access to the Kids’ Zone is R50 a child.

The penguin-release at Seaforth Beach starts at 10am. Contact Sanccob at 021 557 6155 or for more information.