August 28, 2009 by dyertrust

On 11 December 2008, after being hand reared at SANCCOB’s seabird rehabilitation centre in Cape Town, a group of juvenile African penguins were released back into their home colony on Dyer Island after three months of intensive hand rearing and care.

These penguins were rescued off the island by CapeNature officials and the Dyer Island Conservation Trust, as they were born late in the breeding season, when adult birds had started to moult and were therefore forced to abandon their chicks, as they are unable to go out to sea and therefore could not feed their chicks. This conservation intervention saved the lives of many penguin chicks that would otherwise not have survived if left in the wild.

Due to the alarming decline in African penguin numbers in recent years, each individual bird is vital in our conservation efforts of this vulnerable species. It was a truly wonderful moment to watch the youngsters make their way down the beach and take their first swim in the ocean! We were joined on the island by American journalist Terry FitzPatrick, who interviewed Wilfred Chivell, founder of DICT, for a BBC radio documentary report about human interventions to save Dyer Island’s penguin population, covering the chick bolstering project and the artificial nesting project.