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 Post subject: Re: Penguins die of cold.
Unread postPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2010 8:55 am 
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Please keep us updated and whether volunteers will be needed to feed the birds. St Croix should be ok because of the run-off and terrain that provides shelter. What sort of numbers are we talking about? I am not seeing the newspaper on a regular basis and think about 5 have been taken off Bird Island. The guano was removed from Bird Island many years ago. Has any thought been given to providing artificial shelters as has been done on some of the islands in the Western Cape?


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 Post subject: Re: Penguins die of cold.
Unread postPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2010 2:31 pm 
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The weather has now cleared and penguins are out of immediate danger. Our boat has been able to reach the island to assess the situation and found that no more chicks need to be evacuated as the remaining chicks are doing well and with their parents. Between 190 and 200 penguin chicks have survived on Bird Island.

Artificial shelters have been tried but they are not having the same success as has been had in the Western Cape. The temporary shelters that the rangers made out of materials on the island such as pipes did have success in protecting chicks from the weather.

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 Post subject: Re: Penguins die of cold.
Unread postPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2010 2:46 pm 
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Senior Virtual Ranger
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:D that things have improved :thumbs_up:


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 Post subject: Re: Penguins die of cold.
Unread postPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2010 6:52 pm 
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From The Herald, a local Eastern Cape Newspaper:

http://www.theherald.co.za/article.aspx?id=575722

This bit got my attention:

"Leading seabird biologist Dr Norbert Klages, a trustee of the SA Marine Rehabilitation and Education Centre at Cape Recife, said the tragedy could have been avoided.

“If there was even a minimum of population management done by SANParks, this need not have happened. I’m talking artificial burrows, nesting material, any kind of shelter and planning ahead when it is known bad weather is coming.”

SANPark’s successful and internationally acclaimed efforts to save the black and white rhino should be used as a template for “best practice” with the African penguin.

“It’s high time SANParks reconnected with this old approach of doing active work on the endangered wildlife populations in their care and applying the skills they have.”

Samrec would also have taken in hundreds and cared for them.

“I’ve challenged SANParks to do something of this nature for years. It is disgusting. If funding is a problem in terms of intervention here, local folk love their penguins and I’m sure they would be more than willing to help raise funds.”

During the 1990s, Bird Island had a peak active nest count of about 3700 “before the over-fishing and climate change stuff really kicked in. Now there’s only about 800 left.”


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 Post subject: Re: Penguins die of cold.
Unread postPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2010 7:30 pm 
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SANparks policy is clearly non-interventionist.I have to agree with that in broad terms and I always will. Nature has fantastic ways of fixing some serious problems. Cases like this are both rare and certainly were extreme weather wise and although there is always an annual mortality rate, the level of intervention to prevent rare occurrences such as this alarming juvenile mortality rate is always going to be a tough line to walk IMHO. Too much...too little...who is to say?? The methods that worked here in the Western Cape have apparently had mixed results in the Eastern Cape.....Hindsight is always a perfect science and the line between non-interventionist and endangered is a really really tough one to walk I reckon. Lets hope they bounce back----


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 Post subject: Re: Penguins die of cold.
Unread postPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2010 7:55 pm 
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Thanks Megan, glad it is under control. Was worrying about St Croix and the effects of an oil spill. I worked there briefly about 30 years ago as a student and wonder how a catastrophic oil spill would be dealt with. The sides are steep and even with a light swell landing and leaving are very tricky. I am sure a contingency plan has been drawn up to cover for the new harbour.

Incidentally I have been lurking on the forum for years and am very excited about the developments and additions to the park. It is amazing to see a place I first enjoyed 40 years ago still growing and improving!


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 Post subject: Re: Penguins die of cold.
Unread postPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2010 8:07 pm 
Artificial burrows etc was created at Boulders???…has SANParks’ policy on non-intervention changed, or has the priorities of their budget changed? :?


Last edited by Jumbo on Fri Jun 18, 2010 8:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Penguins die of cold.
Unread postPosted: Fri Jun 18, 2010 8:13 pm 
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Distinguished Virtual Ranger
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Such a extreme combination of severe cold and wetness is very rare :shock:
(used to be. with the climate change you never know these days)
Best would be to think about new measurements to be taken to protect what seems to be a very delicate balance of a succesfull breeding colony or one on a steep decline

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 Post subject: Re: Penguins die of cold.
Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 29, 2010 4:07 pm 
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Quote:
Crisis resolved as penguin chick numbers rise
Themba Boyi | 1 Hour Ago

Officials at the Addo Elephant National Park have confirmed the former crisis at Bird Island has been resolved.

At least 480 penguin chicks froze to death in June when wet and chilly conditions took a toll on the breeding colonies of African penguins.

The declining population resulted in the birds being re-classified as endangered.

However, the Park’s Megan Taplin said a climb in temperatures has coincided with the current breeding season.

“We haven’t had any chicks dying since then from cold and wet weather. Our latest count that we have is from the end of June when we had about 670 chicks that were still alive.”




Taken from here.

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