Nature – Marching orders for Plett penguins

Aquila Stadtherr is a local, who has spent his life enjoying the benefits of our beautiful local shores. An avid surfer and former lifeguard, he joined the NVT marine team to develop his skills in education and sustainability within a natural environment.

For more than two years now, Tenikwa Wildlife Rehabilitation and Awareness Centre, in collaboration with NVT and BirdLife South Africa, have been releasing rehabilitated penguins along the coastline in Plett. This is in recognition of the fact that the bay has penguins all year round, as birds come from various breeding colonies around the coast to enjoy our abundant fish stocks.

The 27th of July 2019 marked the 9th official release where five African penguins made their way into the waters at Plett’s Blue Flag status Lookout Beach and swam successfully out into the open ocean. Injured, sick or moulting penguins that are found stranded on our shores are taken to Tenikwa, where they go through long rehabilitation and screening processes to ensure they are ready to be released back into the ocean.

Once released the penguins will spend many days out at sea, sometimes several months until they finally return to their colony. A penguin only returns to land when it mates or moults (the process in which they shed their old feathers and grow new ones) and they generally only return to the colony where they hatched out.

If you happen to see what appears to be a stranded penguin in Plett, please contact the Plett Marine Animal Stranding Network on 079 463 4837 or contact Tenikwa direct on 082 486 1515. The releases of the penguins will continue thanks to the rehabilitation efforts at Tenikwa.

We are very thankful for all the support and look forward to many more releases in the future.

Photo courtesy of NVT and photographer David Lewarne Article from  Plett Adventure and Nature Magazine 2019.
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