African Penguin & Seabird Sanctuary

It is our birthday, like all six year olds we would be delighted to receive some gifts. Waddle back through time with us to understand why every penguin counts

Don’t follow your dreams, chase them

The project started on the pages of the little black notebook bearing the dreams of Wilfred Chivell, the founder of the Dyer Island Conservation Trust. It grew from a single container with a pool into the well designed African Penguin & Seabird Sanctuary. Likeminded passionate penguin people came together to place their plans of saving the African penguin on the same page. They were joined by donors who saw the value of supporting a project driven by the will to make a difference.

African Penguin & Seabird Sanctuary

Disappearing lines

The African penguin is disappearing from the landscape everywhere in Southern Africa but the situation on Dyer Island is dire. Once home to a vibrant African penguin colony with an estimated 25 000 breeding pairs in the early 1970’s, the numbers have dwindled to less than a 1000 breeding pairs today.

The rescue, rehabilitation and release of every single penguin makes a crucial contribution to the conservation of the species. We are at the stage where #EveryPenguinCounts.

Dyer Island gone are the days

Hope is a feather….

During the past six years we have rehabilitated and released 675 African penguins. (283 Adults & 392 Chicks). The 283 adult African penguins that we saved could each have a partner on Dyer island – that is potentially 14.15% of the breeding population. These saved birds could contribute a total of  517 chicks to the population over 5 years.

If we did not step in to rescue the 392 chicks, there would be 73 less pairs of adult breeders (at age 4 of age) recruiting to Dyer Island. Low odds, we know, but this outcome is under the current depressive scenario with no other pro-active interventions.

We are hoping that the pro-active actions of habitat restoration via the Artificial nest project, predator management and ongoing consultations with the fishing industry to close some fishing areas around the breeding colonies will help us to change the current scenario into a scenario where we can stabilise the population and hope for better outcomes.

Education brings change

We are very thankful that we could share the plight of the African penguin with the 108 000 people that popped in to the APSS. Our education outreach engaged with over 3000 local learners. Through our tourism partners we  have preached the message of conservation to thousands of visitors.

Ubuntu, it takes a community

We salute the contributions made to our cause by so many people, from big corporate donors to a child with a piggy bank full of money. Together we made a difference. We know we can count on your continued support.

We will continue to work alongside CapeNature, the management authority for Dyer Island to support their efforts to preserve not only the African penguin but the amazing biodiversity of this very special area.

The APSS would not be able to care for penguins if we did not have a platoon of passionate penguin people. We have a small, dedicated staff. A team of hard working penguin volunteers. Project partners like Marine Dynamics & Dyer Island Cruises that provides valuable education opportunities and the best penguin taxi service imaginable. All weaved together into a strong penguin support network.

Passionate penguin people

The Covid crash

With the funding model we envisaged for the APSS, we were aiming to not only rely on grants and donations, but also to have an income stream through our coffee & gift shop. In the year of the rat, 2020, this all came crashing down. We now have to ensure that the financial impact of the Covid19 pandemic does not affect our efforts to prevent the extinction of this iconic creature. We have had to do some extreme juggling. We reduced the number of balls we had in the air. Expansion and maintenance plans were temporarily placed on the very top shelf to be dusted off once the Covid waves have dissipated. The commitment to the cause from the APSS staff has been phenomenal. They have continued caring for our penguin patients in spite of adverse personal circumstances.

Only going forward because we cannot find reverse

We ask you to stay with us on this quest, to keep on looking forward, to contribute to our cause, to never give up.

“You may never know what results come of your action, but if you do nothing, there will be no result”. Mahatma Ghandi