Penguins Waddle Back To Bird Island

Johannesburg, South Africa – A total of 49 African penguin juveniles were released onto Bird Island near Port Elizabeth on Thursday following a successful rehabilitation process, SA National Parks (Sanparks) said. “The penguins, now about three months old, were taken to Bird Island by Sanparks’ boat from Port Elizabeth Harbour early this morning,” Sanparks spokesperson Megan Taplin said in a statement. “After a three hour journey, they were released onto the slipway at Bird Island and soon joined the rest of the African penguin colony,” she said. The juveniles were removed as chicks by Sanparks from Bird Island in mid October when extreme cold, wet and windy weather threatened their survival. Sanparks manages the Bird and St Croix Island groups in Algoa Bay as part of Addo Elephant National Park. The chicks were rehabilitated at Penguins Eastern Cape in Cape St Francis and the South African Marine Rehabilitation and Education Center in Port Elizabeth. “Sanparks has also taken extra precautions in the meantime by providing artificial shelters for penguins and using material to drain nest sites to aid penguin chick survival,” Taplin said. “All released juveniles have been tagged and will be closely monitored by rangers on Bird Island to ensure they survive,” she said. There are about 1,300 breeding pairs of African Penguins on Bird Island and about 2,500 breeding pairs on St Croix Island, home to the largest African Penguin breeding colony in the world.

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