penguin rescue
Photo Credit: Two Oceans Aquarium Foundation

The first penguin rescue of the year that headed to SANCCOB saw a moulting juvenile in the wrong place at the right time. Thanks to a marine wildlife hero, this rescue has meant the penguin is in a safe space and its adult plumage is looking dapper!


Cape Town, South Africa (31 January 2024) — The first penguin rescue of the year for SANCCOB tells the story of a young penguin, the journey to a decent place to moult, and a little info about this stage of a penguin’s life! 

Earlier this month, a juvenile African penguin likely looking for a safe place to moult, found itself outside the Radisson Blue in Cape Town. For those who haven’t been to the Aquarium in a minute, moulting refers to the ‘out with the old, in with the new’ feathers stage of a penguin’s year. For juveniles, this moulting plumage is considered the last stop before becoming a fully-fledged penguin. Importantly, during moulting time, penguins can’t swim. 

So, when this juvenile penguin was spotted in the water outside a hotel likely on the search for land, Martine Viljoen, the Marine Wildlife Management Programme Assistant at the Two Oceans Aquarium Foundation, understood the assignment. 

Martine was eventually able to facilitate the rescue with a net on a slipway at The Water Club. She tells Good Things Guy that the Juvenile Arrested moulter weighed in at 3.66kg and was mildly dehydrated with small cuts on the feet and an injured top eyelid. 

Martine and the Two Oceans Aquarium Foundation knew that the penguin needed a safe space to complete the moult, so naturally SANCCOB (The Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds) would soon be getting a visit. 

When they arrived, the freshly rescued penguin got the number AP001—making it the first penguin rescue of 2024 at SANCCOB.

Updating Good Things Guy, Martine shared that AP001 has now completed its moult.

“[AP001] is looking beautiful in their new adult plumage with its first black and white colouration. AP001 is currently a 1 hour swimmer in SANCCOB Rehab pens, meaning their waterproofing is looking good enough to hopefully be signed off for release soon.”

Sources: Martine Viljoen 
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About the Author

Ashleigh Nefdt is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Ashleigh's favourite stories have always seen the hidden hero (without the cape) come to the rescue. As a journalist, her labour of love is finding those everyday heroes and spotlighting their spark - especially those empowering women, social upliftment movers, sustainability shakers and creatives with hearts of gold. When she's not working on a story, she's dedicated to her canvas or appreciating Mother Nature.

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