December 30, 2009 by dyertrust

On the 26th November 2009, the Dyer Island Conservation Trust (DICT), made a donation of R10 000 to

Penguins-Eastern Cape (PEC), a marine bird rehabilitation centre situated in Cape St. Francis. The centre is dedicated to mitigating the human impact on marine birds and mammals through emergency response and rescue, rehabilitation, research and education. Penguins-Eastern Cape provides treatment and temporary care for oiled, sick, dehydrated, and injured African penguins, in addition to sick and injured marine birds and those in need of rest and recovery.

This year, to date, the centre has treated 250 penguins, most of which have been Blues that have been stranded at various locations: 21% between Kynsna and Tsitsikamma, 33% between Cannon Rocks and Port Elizabeth (this includes 15 oiled birds removed from Bird Island as well as 5 adults that were removed after a wall collapsed on them during the high sea conditions), and 46% between Gamtoos River and Oyster Bay. Most of the Blues were dehydrated, emaciated and suffering from Babesia. The centre’s vet, Dr Barry Bousfield, together with researcher Albert Schultz and lab manager Liz Horne, have identified a disease called Trichomoniasis in some of the Blues. This disease has been recorded in the Little Penguin in Australia before, but as far as they can ascertain, not in the African Penguin. The centre has also admitted some birds with Borrelia, a first for the Eastern Cape.

PEC released 40 birds on Saturday 22 November, but since then they have admitted another 15 new birds. It would seem that these are now the “runts of the litter” because they come in weighing next to nothing and are sicker than those admitted earlier in October. The sudden influx of birds has caused a great stress on the centre’s finances, especially the drug and cleaning bills, and Trudi Malan (Operations Manager) would like to convey sincere thanks to DICT for the generous donation, as well as SANCCOB, SANParks and Bayworld for all the wonderful support. Please be sure to visit the PEC website (http://www.penguin-rescue.org.za) to find out how you can help this remarkable cause and help us to help the vulnerable African penguin population.