A­fri­can pen­guin re­turns to w­he­re he was re­le­a­sed

Mossel Bay Advertiser - - Art & Entertainment - Ter­sia Ma­rais

An oi­led A­fri­can pen­guin was found on Wil­der­ness be­ach and broug­ht to Saprec (Se­a­bi­rd and Pen­guin Re­ha­bi­li­ta­ti­on Cen­t­re) on 24 Sep­tem­ber last y­e­ar.

Af­ter being cle­a­ned and re­ha­bi­li­ta­ted at the cen­t­re, the bi­rd was mi­cro­chip­ped and re­le­a­sed at Be­a­con Point in Mos­sel Bay on 11 No­vem­ber 2017.

Re­cent­ly, a pen­guin with an ar­res­ted moult was found at the Point in Mos­sel Bay and af­ter being scan­ned to see if it had been mi­cro­chip­ped, it was found that it is the sa­me pen­guin.

It is re­mar­ka­ble that it ma­de its way back sa­fely to w­he­re it was re­le­a­sed 11 mont­hs ago.

For ma­ny y­e­ars pen­guins we­re rin­ged pri­or to re­le­a­se with a me­tal band pla­ced on the flip­per.

The­se bands cau­sed all sorts of pro­blems and it was de­ci­ded to stop u­sing them. Ot­her met­hods we­re look­ed in­to but a­ny­thing ex­ter­nal­ly u­sed, had a ne­ga­ti­ve ef­fect on the pen­guins.

With new techno­lo­gy a­vai­la­ble, all re­ha­bi­li­ta­ti­on fa­ci­li­ties are now u­sing mi­cro­chips that are in­ser­ted un­der the skin and they ha­ve no ne­ga­ti­ve ef­fects at all.

E­ach bi­rd gets a chip with its own number that has all the in­for­ma­ti­on of the bi­rd, for ex­am­ple: w­hat was wrong with it and w­he­re it ca­me from.

W­hen a stran­ded pen­guin is found, it gets scan­ned to c­heck for a chip and if it does not ha­ve one, a chip is in­ser­ted pri­or to its re­le­a­se.

The va­lue of keeping re­cords and to ha­ve techno­lo­gy at hand is ab­so­lu­te­ly a­ma­zing as this litt­le pen­guin’s his­to­ry could now be tra­ced.

He is suf­fe­ring from an ar­res­ted moult. The A­fri­can pen­guin’s fe­at­hers are im­por­tant for keeping them warm and dry whi­le they are in the cold se­a­wa­ter. The fe­at­hers may we­ar or e­ven bre­ak and in or­der to re­pla­ce the­se fe­at­hers, pen­guins go through a moult w­he­re their old fe­at­hers are pus­hed out and re­pla­ced by new on­es. Moul­ting is a three-s­ta­ge pro­cess and starts weeks be­fo­re the fe­at­hers are ac­tu­al­ly re­pla­ced. First, they gor­ge them­sel­ves on fish to in­cre­a­se the bo­dy weig­ht to en­d­u­re the second s­ta­ge. Pen­guins are not wa­ter­p­roof whi­le moul­ting and stay on land for two to three weeks, fas­ting until their new fe­at­hers e­mer­ge. Du­ring this ti­me, they mig­ht al­so go in w­hat is cal­led an ar­res­ted moult w­he­re they do not ha­ve suf­fi­cient bo­dy re­sour­ces to com­ple­te the moult.

The thi­rd s­ta­ge in­vol­ves re­tur­ning to the sea to re­ple­nish the lost weig­ht. Du­ring the re­ha­bi­li­ta­ti­on of this ar­res­ted moult con­di­ti­on, the bi­rds are fed lots of fish but al­so oils such as O­me­ga 3 and ot­her sup­ple­ments to as­sist them to moult a­gain.

W­hen in moult and espe­ci­al­ly w­hen an ar­res­ted moult occurs, the pen­guins u­su­al­ly end up on our lo­cal be­a­ches. All A­fri­can pen­guins found on our be­a­ches ha­ve to be re­por­ted and res­cu­ed. Con­tact Ca­rol Wal­ton (082 364 3382) or S.M.A.R.T. (072 227 4715).

Mi­cro­chips are in­ser­ted un­der the skin and ha­ve no ne­ga­ti­ve ef­fects at all.

“Na­tu­re Knows No Was­te” is the the­me for Na­ti­o­nal Ma­ri­ne Week 2018 that will be ce­le­bra­ted at the Di­as Mu­seum on 30 Oc­to­ber.

Newspapers in Afrikaans

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.