• Nadine Clarke

The Second African Penguin Release for 2020

It was a very hot day with temperatures reaching well over 34 degrees. The ocean was calm and cool and Fransmanshoek Nature Reserve was ready to welcome our three penguins to be released. The penguins had all arrived at the SAPREC centre 12 weeks ago with an arrested moult. This means that they had been disturbed whilst they were in their moulting process. Penguins moult once a year replacing their worn-out feathers with a brand new set of waterproof feathers. A state of arrested moult means that this important process has been interrupted , and without waterproof feathers, the bird is neither able to survive cold waters nor hunt for fish. The three musketeers as we fondly called them were reluctant to swim into the big ocean once again. They stood on the shore surveying their surroundings. Finally they plucked up the courage to slowly swim into the waves and suddenly the realization that they were free again and back in the sea took hold. They stretched and flapped and wagged their tails as they set off into the deep blue ocean. Thanks once again to all the stakeholders that makes a day like this so precious. The concerned citizens that call into the centre to make us aware of a bird in distress, the volunteers that give so readily of their time to look after and care for the birds, our wonderful vets who assist us -Dr De Graaf, Dr Cilliers and Dr Basson and all our sponsors and supporters. Today we can say that collectively we did good!

Photographs Rene Hodges