Worldwide Experience helps Penguin victims after oil spill

On the morning of Saturday, 6th July 2019, an estimated 200 to 400 litres of oil overflowed during a refuelling of the MV Chrysanthi S in Algoa bay, Port Elizabeth, South Africa. The oil spill has unfortunately resulted in over 100 seabirds being oiled which were admitted to SANCCOB (South African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds) Eastern Cape where they have assembled an incredible team made up of SANCOBB rehabilitation members and their vet from SANCOBB headquarters in Tableview, Cape Town and local volunteers from Port Elizabeth and surrounding areas.

Over the last two weeks, volunteers and SANCOBB staff have worked hard to ensure each bird has been cleaned and stabilised to ensure the rehabilitation process is as smooth as possible considering the mammoth task at hand with so many birds being oiled. Oiled birds need to follow a very strict rehabilitation schedule which includes feeding, swimming and a treatment schedule which means their weight, blood and waterproofing of their feathers needs to be checked before they are released into the wild which can be between 4 and 16 weeks depending on the diagnosis of the bird upon admission to SANCOBB. The daily rehabilitation schedule for an operation of this size requires the help of volunteers to be successful and we are so proud of our Vets Go Wild students who gave up their time to help out at SANCOBB EC this Saturday. Dr Emily Baxter, course facilitator, had this to say about our students:

“I am so proud of this team of Vets Go Wild students! They threw themselves into any job asked of them without complaining! We got to help the team at SANCOBB EC who are working tirelessly to help all the seabirds affected by the recent oil spill. They work with such passion and do everything they can to keep these birds’ stress to a minimum.
Thank you, team! You made a difference in a difficult and overstretched time!”

Worldwide Experience team member, Claire Paton joined the volunteers on Sunday to give a helping hand at SANCOBB as she has previous experience working with seabirds. Claire said that the core team and volunteers at SANCOBB have done an incredible job to date considering how many birds need assistance daily with rehabilitation. The penguins are looking clean and healthy and receiving the best care. The people of Algoa Bay have been unbelievably generous with donations and we encourage anyone who has free time to assist with food prep and other centre tasks to please contact SANCOBB EC (telephone: +27 (0) 41 583 1830) to sign up to volunteer or even just help the volunteers with a meal to keep them re-fuelled while they work hard to look after the penguins in their care before they are ready for release.

The African Penguin is one of the most threatened species of bird with around 15 000 breeding pairs left in the world. This penguin species is the only species of penguin found along the South African coast and sadly only a mere 5% of the estimated African Penguin population recorded in the early 20th Century, so EVERY BIRD COUNTS!

Please follow this link for further information on the SANCOBB:

Please follow this link for regular updates on the penguins at SANCOBB EC:

Donations: (as per SANCOBB EC Facebook:

A response to the Facebook enquiries and other friends that would like to support us:

In the event of an oil spill, SANCCOB can claim the expenses made from the insurance of the owners of the ship responsible for the pollution. These include all costs associated with the clean-up. Friends and supporters are, however, more than welcome to assist with purchasing items that benefits our seabird conservation work outside of this crisis to continue the care and rehabilitation of endangered seabirds.

SANCCOB is always in need of items such as medication; equipment such as nebulizers, stainless steel tables and incubators; uniforms and protective clothing for staff and volunteers; cleaning detergents as well as health and safety products; electricity, water and refuse costs; veterinary and diagnostic expenses; repairs and maintenance to extend the longevity of equipment in use; repairs and maintenance of the centre; transportation of birds from the colonies to the SANCCOB centre and vice versa; as well as staff salaries such as the salaries for rangers that rescue ill, injured, abandoned penguins and other seabirds.

Our banking details are:

Account holder: SANCCOB
Bank: First National Bank
Branch: 20-38-09 (Table View)
Account number: 59 23 713 5859
Please clearly reference ‘Seabird conservation’ or ’Penguin and Seabird Rangers’ when making a deposit