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Media Release: Joint Rescue Effort for Oiled Penguins

05 September 2006

Forty-six oiled African penguins will today be rescued from Addo Elephant National Park’s Bird Island in a joint rescue effort.

Park rangers stationed on Bird Island first noticed the oiled penguins on Wednesday, 30th of August, and began the rescue process.

It is not clear where the oil spill that is affecting these penguins is situated, as no ships have been registered as run aground.

At least two oiled African penguins were found on the beaches of Cape St. Francis yesterday.

The South African National Defense Force has volunteered to provide free helicopter transport for the oiled birds from Bird Island to Port Elizabeth airport, where a temporary rehabilitation area is being set up.

Volunteers from Bayworld and PENRESC (Penguin Rehabilitation, Eastern & Southern Cape Coast) will apply preliminary rehabilitation aid to the oiled penguins in this temporary rehabilitation area and then box the birds for transport, before the birds are flown to Cape Town for further care.

South African Airways Cargo will provide free air transport for the penguins to SANCOB in Cape Town, where the birds will undergo the full rehabilitation process before they are released back to sea.

Judging from previous, similar rescue and release efforts, these African penguins will take about five to six days to swim the distance back to their Bird Island home.