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Addo: Penguins

Addo, Camdeboo, Karoo, Mountain Zebra
Luc Hosten
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Re: Penguins die of cold.

Unread post by Luc Hosten » Fri Jun 18, 2010 8:55 am

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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Re: Penguins die of cold.

Unread post by Addo Elephant » Fri Jun 18, 2010 2:31 pm

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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Re: Penguins die of cold.

Unread post by Micetta » Fri Jun 18, 2010 2:46 pm

:D that things have improved :thumbs_up:

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Re: Penguins die of cold.

Unread post by Guinea Pig » Fri Jun 18, 2010 6:52 pm

From The Herald, a local Eastern Cape Newspaper:

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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Re: Penguins die of cold.

Unread post by AjayB » Fri Jun 18, 2010 7:30 pm

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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Re: Penguins die of cold.

Unread post by Luc Hosten » Fri Jun 18, 2010 7:55 pm

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!


Re: Penguins die of cold.

Unread post by Jumbo » 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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Re: Penguins die of cold.

Unread post by bert » Fri Jun 18, 2010 8:13 pm

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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Re: Penguins die of cold.

Unread post by Imberbe » Thu Jul 29, 2010 4:07 pm

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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Rescued penguins return to the wild

Unread post by Lesego » Fri Sep 14, 2012 9:50 am

Forty-six African penguins were returned to the wild earlier this week after being rescued from Bird Island in Addo Elephant National Park.

The penguins were released back to the sea in excellent condition following months of rehabilitation in two centres in the Eastern Cape.

Penguins Eastern Cape in Cape St Francis released thirty-six penguins while the South African Marine Rehabilitation Centre (SAMREC) released ten penguins back to sea. It is expected that the penguins will make their way back to colonies on Bird and St Croix Island in Algoa Bay as they have done in the past.

The juvenile penguins were rescued by helicopter off Bird Island in early June when it was found that they were underweight and suffering from exposure to extreme weather. Treatment and feeding in specialised rehabilitation centres was the only way to ensure their survival.

South African National Parks (SANParks) took the decision to airlift the birds to rehabilitation centres as part of the strategy to take special measures to ensure the survival of individuals where a species is endangered. African penguins were reclassified as endangered in 2010 following the global decline of their population.

Addo Elephant National Park rangers have introduced special measures to increase the survival of penguin chicks on the islands including monitoring the birds on a daily basis, providing artificial nest covers to shelter eggs and chicks from harsh weather and predators and removing penguins to specialised rehabilitation centres when needed.

The Algoa Bay islands managed by SANParks are now home to the world’s largest African penguin populations with 6 625 breeding pairs on St Croix Island and 3 031 breeding pairs on Bird Island.

Juvenile penguins begin their swim back home to Bird Island after being rehabilitated.

Issued by:
South African National Parks (SANParks)

Megan Taplin
Acting Regional Communications Manager
Addo Elephant * Camdeboo * Karoo* Mountain Zebra National Parks
Tel: 083 6508649
Lesego Nko
Web forum and Online Stakeholder Relations
Tel: (012) 426 5202

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Re: Rescued penguins return to the wild

Unread post by lion queen » Fri Sep 14, 2012 10:52 am

Thanx Lesego.............. :clap: :clap: :clap:
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Re: Rescued penguins return to the wild

Unread post by Meandering Mouse » Sat Sep 15, 2012 6:50 am

Well done :D

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Re: Rescued penguins return to the wild

Unread post by billyf » Sat Sep 15, 2012 6:54 am

Well done Sanparks :clap: :clap: :thumbs_up:
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