African Penguin, Cape Fur Seal, Turtles and Seabird recuse along the Sunshine Coast

Lana Cummings (083 267 5198) has been involved with the rescues around our area for many years now. She was recently joined by Verona Veltman (083 654 9976) to assist with the rescues. They provide emergency rehab for the penguins by incubating them with electrolyte solution and then arranging for them to be transported as a matter of urgency to SAMREC at Cape Recife in PE, or to Sanccob at Cape St Francis. Ndlambe’s Beach Manager is Mark Dixon also assists with these rescues (074 634 4072)


Seals go to Bayworld in PE – the unweaned seal pups need to be returned by boat to their mothers within 7 days of being washed off Black Rocks near Bird Island during high spring tides and very rough seas. Thereafter the mothers abandon them. Loggerhead and Leather back turtle babies born along the KZN coast are sometimes caught up in cold sea pockets and they become paralyzed by the cold water. They then wash up on our coastline.

Baby turtle, source World Wildlife Fund images


Never put them back in the sea as they will eventually drown. Lana and Verona send them through to Bayworld for rehabilitation and release back to the sea.

All the rescue organisations rehabilitate as required and then return the marine creatures back to the sea. This is a very costly and time consuming exercise and they need as much help as they can get with donations to continue the sterling work that they do. It is a wonderful outing for the whole family to watch Samrec and Sanccob release the penguins back to sea.

The African Penguin is endangered and it is critical to save every single bird. The world’s entire population occurs only on the Southern Coast of Africa with a small colony near Walvis Bay. Nearly half of the entire population breed on St Croix and Bird Island in Algoa Bay – these islands are their last stronghold. With global warming they have tended to migrate away from the West Coast to the East Coast. We have to be their custodians!

Population of the African Penguin

60% decline over last 10 years
Minimum global viable population to breed: 50 000 pairs
Current population:21 000 PAIRS
Bird Island - Algoa Bay: 3 031 BREEDING PAIRS
St Croix – Algoa Bay:6 625 BREEDING PAIRS

Reasons for decline of the African Penguin
  • Egg collection in years gone by – now banned
  • Guano collecting for fertilizer and destroying nesting sites
  • Over fishing – when people catch too many of the fish that penguins eat, the penguins are unable to find food and starve to death.
  • Oil pollution – huge spills catastrophic and bilge cleaning also oils birds
  • Climate change – warmer ocean temperatures force the fish they eat to collier currents far offshore – out of their range
  • Natural predators – sharks, seals, feral cats, leopard and mongoose.
  • These days, plastic pollution and micro beads forming plastic soup in our oceans, are the cause of most fatalities. Marine and sea life sea the plastic as food and feed it to their chicks who all die in the process. Other plastic pollution entangles and strangles them. Currents and wind make the Woody Cape a huge litter trap – right on the doorstep of Bird Island and St Croix.

If you find any of these marine animals

  • If you are unable to handle the seabird,Lana and Verona will collect the bird.
  • If you approach any seabird, please approach with care. Some seabirds such as Cape Gannets and African Penguins have sharp beaks. Seals bite even harder.
  • Have with you a towel, or blanket and wear protection over your hands and eyes. Use a towel/blanket to throw over the bird to catch it, ensuring that the bird is able to breathe. Wet towels work better.
  • If you have a large box ensure that there are holes for air before you place the injured/sick marine bird.
  • Please do no wet or feed the bird, seal or turtle.
  • DO NOT put them back into the sea.
  • Please keep people and dogs away.
  • If you are unable to assist,please stay with the animal and give us an accurate location where we can find you and a cellphone number.

Lana Cummings on 083 2675198
Verona Veltman on 083 6549976
Mark Dixon on 074 634 4072 and on Facebook and on Facebook

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