In September 2012, Endangered African penguins were coming ashore oiled from a shipwreck in Table Bay where breeding penguins forage for food. The shipwreck has been there since 2009 and further broke up during stormy weather at the end of August. Some of the foraging tracks collected in 2012 showed that breeding birds do forage close to the location of the Seli 1 wreck. The total oiled penguins caught and sent to the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds SANCCOB from Robben Island totaled to 212 adults and 31 associated chicks. Luckily no penguins have been seen with oil lately.
The last EathWatch team of the year in 2012 was on hand to help with catching the oiled penguins. Thanks to the hard working volunteers: Trish, Avra, and Nancy for their assistance! The research team also owes particular thanks to the Robben Island Museum staff for their support in the field and assistance with transport and housing. A lot of field work had to be set aside to catch and send oiled penguins to the SANCCOB so they could be treated for the petroleum they had been exposed to. One oiled bird was discovered in the colony on eggs and both eggs and penguin were sent to SANCCOB. Most of the birds were later released at Table View after a period of time at the rehabilitation center. They had to be fed, cleaned and their water proofing checked before they could be released.
Rehabilitated oiled penguins returning to the sea. Photo courtesy of Joanne Morten who assisted at the release.
In March 2013, the remaining parts of the Seli 1 were successfully removed.