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SANCCOB: Month of October dressed in Black & White

SANCCOB: Month of October dressed in Black & White

SANCCOB (Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds) in the Eastern Cape, celebrated African Penguin Awareness Day (APAD) on 11 October with a first-ever Penguin Carnival at its seabird centre based next to the Seal Point Lighthouse in Cape St. Francis. Celebrated world-wide, APAD is a day dedicated to our precious penguins and raising awareness about the dangers that these endangered birds face.

Together with its partner, the St. Francis Kromme Trust, the Penguin Carnival attracted 450 visitors to the picturesque seabird centre to celebrate these unique tuxedoed penguins that only occur along the  southern African coastline.

The festivities kicked off with a public penguin release during which 8 rehabilitated African penguins were released back into the wild. The public also enjoyed guided tours of the rehabilitation facility, a kids programme and carnival games. Penguin adoptions, the local Sea Vista Marimbas, the food stalls and meeting Francis (SANCCOB’s ambassador penguin) were some of the other highlights of the day.

In addition to the APAD celebrations, three schools ran  “African Penguin Projects” to help raise funds for SANCCOB.  The 5th graders from Mount Pleasant Primary in Port Elizabeth visited SANCCOB’s centre for a guided tour and a special seabird talk. Nico Malan High in Humansdorp hosted a two-week “adopt a penguin” campaign per grade group and sold SANCCOB Supporter stickers at R2 each. 

In addition, the St. Francis College invited SANCCOB staff, volunteers and Francis to their ‘Penguin Day’ on 17 October. For this special occasion, the school hall was decorated with penguin crafts and drawings and the learners had the chance to dress up in black and white civvies. The teachers read penguin stories, Francis the Penguin took the stage to entertain the crowd, and all got to enjoy penguin-shaped sandwiches.

As part of SANCCOB’s mission to educate local schools about the importance of the marine environment, SANCCOB staff and volunteers gave back to the community in the form of an outreach visit to Talhado Children’s Haven and the Sea Vista Youth Group. During the outreach, learners and young adults had the special opportunity to meet Francis the penguin and to learn more about the world-renowned rehabilitation work SANCCOB does 365 days of the year.

With the help of all the participating schools and carnival-goers, nearly R16 000 was collectively raised in October for SANCCOB Eastern Cape.  The proceeds will go  towards the rehabilitation of African penguins admitted to the SANCCOB centre at Cape St. Francis. The majority of birds admitted to the centre originate from Bird- and St Croix Islands  which support 60% of the wild African population.  Events such as APAD raise awareness about the threats that these birds face daily.

SANCCOB Eastern Cape will be hosting its inaugural Penguin Holiday Festival, 20 – 29 December 2014.  Highlights will include a public penguin release, the annual SANCCOB Penguin Golf Day, a Wine-Cheese Pairing and Benefit Auction and a musical performance by well-known artist Chris Chameleon at the Cape St Francis Resort.

Support SANCCOB by sponsoring a hole at their Golf Day for R500, donate any items or vouchers to be auctioned at the benefit evening,  or contact Louanne to book your seat at one of the six events during this upcoming festive season.

For any enquiries or to Adopt a Penguin, please contact Louanne Mostert at [email protected] or 083 874 3067.  If you spot a seabird in need, kindly contact SANCCOB on their Seabird Rescue Line at 082 890 0207.