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Downes Murray International News

Working to protect our seabirds

 Established in 1968, SANCCOB is a non-profit organisation whose primary objective is to reverse the decline of seabird populations through the rescue, rehabilitation and release of ill, injured, abandoned and oiled seabirds – especially endangered seabirds like the African penguin.

The organisation works closely with colony managers to identify birds in need of care in the wild and bring them to one of its two centres in South Africa: Cape Town (Western Cape) and Cape St. Francis (Eastern Cape).

In almost 50 years, SANCCOB has treated more than 95 000 seabirds and independent research confirms that SANCCOB’s oil spill response actions alone have increased the African penguin population by 19%.

In a non-spill year, SANCCOB treats up to 2 500 seabirds, of which approximately 1 500 are African penguins. Other seabirds treated by SANCCOB include various cormorant species (including the endangered Bank cormorant and Cape cormorant); various species of terns; pelagic birds such as albatrosses and petrels; and oystercatchers, gulls, pelicans and other coastal and seabirds that are found in the region. On average, SANCCOB admits 24 different seabird species for rehabilitation per year.

It is an internationally recognised leader in oiled wildlife response, rehabilitation and chick-rearing; contributes to research which benefits seabirds; trains people to care for the birds; and educates the public to develop behavioural patterns which benefit marine life and the environment it depends on.

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