After several years in Cape Town, I have finally accepted that far-away friends and family will never come visit. Alas, when you’re the last stop before Antarctica, the indelible bonds of love don’t stretch much farther than a postcard.
But that’s fine. I’ll just be hanging out with the more than 200 penguins and seabirds here at SANCCOB, the local seabird hospital and rehabilitation center. If you’d like to join me, all the chickly cuteness and penguin snobbery is covered in the posts below. Expect weird smells, regrettable life choices and lots of fish.
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As a working hospital for sick and injured seabirds, SANCCOB houses hundreds of animals at one time. When I started during “the low season,” there were over 200 penguins, gulls and other birds waddling around in pens, all of who need to be examined, medicated, fed, swam and just generally looked after. And, where there are … Continue reading How to Power-Wash a Poop Mat
Within less than a week of working with penguins, my already-flimsy street cred had dwindled considerably. The evidence: Being awake past 9 pm is “staying up late.” A pair of leopard-print crocs made their way onto my my wish list (So. Much. Want). But as I said, things got better. Not long after the I … Continue reading VD’s Curious Aversion to Vowels & Other Sensible Language
Early in the morning, just before the volunteers and rehabbers begin to arrive, the African penguins stand outside their nesting box, point their beaks toward the heavens and sing a sweet serenade sounding something like this: From what I understand, it’s an ecstatic display song, and despite having earned them the nickname “jackass,” penguins appear … Continue reading The Sounds of Penguin Morning Sex
Birds are notoriously good at hiding illness until the very last moment. A casual stroll past the ill and healthy birds show very little to distinguish between them, even in the Intensive Care Unit. But then sometimes you get a bird you know is really sick, and your heart aches for them. I held a … Continue reading Table for Two
African penguins aren’t the only patients in rehab. SANCCOB services all coastal birds, including cormorants, swift terns, gulls, albatrosses, gannets [juveniles pictured above] and a whole host of other feathery friends. You’ve already met the swift terns in Table for Two; and Moby, the infamous cormorant, has a whole post dedicated to him with Diary … Continue reading Cocktail Hour: An Avian Meet-&-Greet
Every once in a while, you come across a bird too smart for his own good, like Cape Cormorant 138. Known to all as ‘the escape artist’ this bird wriggles squeezes and flies his way to freedom several times a week. Yesterday he escaped from the covered pool by jumping onto a crate and pushing … Continue reading Diary of an Escape Artist
So, you’ve read the posts; you’ve heard the stories. Do you want to try your hand at saving African penguins? Well, I’ve written a game so now you can! Play here: