Photo Credit: Nature's Valley Trust

The Nature’s Valley Trust shared a heartwarming story of how two rescued penguins bonded during their recovery and are now being released together.


Plettenberg Bay, South Africa (23 January 2023) – Nature’s Valley Trust is gearing up for one of its special penguin release days but this time, the penguins have the most beautiful story; a love story!

Penguins are taken in and rehabilitated by the Tenikwa Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre. The centre is one of the largest active wildlife rehabilitation centres in the Western Cape and attends to various animals accepting both terrestrial and marine species.

Every year, the rehabilitation centre cares for 230 to 300 different birds. Their facility is open to the public and works to create awareness around saving birdlife as well as small mammals.

The penguin releases have become a popular event as they inspire hope. Many people visit the beach to watch as the little African Penguins make their way back into their natural environment. The Natures Valley Trust always invites the public to join them in the celebration of the penguin freedom walk.

This year, a loved-up pair will be released together and the story will absolutely warm your heart!

Penguins mate for life so when they form a bond with their partner, it’s a beautiful thing. Two penguins in the rehabilitation process formed a bond which meant they would need to be released together. The team had to carefully coordinate this to make sure both were ready and healthy enough to be released.

Diablo is an adult female, brought into the centre after being found ashore at Buffalo Bay with an injury to her abdomen on 16 November 2022. She was very aggressive and earned her nickname for her powerful bite. Thankfully, since her wound and feathers have closed and grown in, she is now able to be released.

“21/078” is an adult male, brought into the centre from Knysna in December 2021. He was very underweight at the time and due to going into moult, had to wait several seasons in order to regain his strength and his waterproofing. The extended wait paid off though and while he fattened up, he also fell in love!

Diablo and 21/078 (which is his secret spy code name, given for his stealth in getting as many fish as possible from his carers) bonded during their time at the centre. He was able to stand her bite and she happily snuggled him, even if he always smelled fishier than the rest. They were a match always meant to be! They will be part of the planned release happening this weekend.

“21/078 got more than he bargained for; during his rehabilitation at Tenikwa, he was introduced to a new arrival, nicknamed Diablo, for her fierce bite. They instantly formed a connection and have paired. It is wonderful that he is ready for release at the same time as Diablo. We guess life at sea with Diablo is worth more than all the free fish in the world!

Just for fun, Tenikwa counted how many fish he has eaten whilst in rehab from their feeding records – a whopping 1069 sardines!”

You can find the details for this weekend’s special release below. Keep an eye on the social media pages as the release is usually shared online too for those not able to attend in person.

Sources: NVT
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About the Author

Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Her passion is to spread good news across South Africa with a big focus on environmental issues, animal welfare and social upliftment. Outside of Good Things Guy, she is an avid reader and lover of tea.

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