Early this week, two endangered African Penguins flew home to Port Elizabeth after spending time in the rehabilitation centre at uShaka Sea World.
African Penguin friends, Gucci and Havaiana, arrived at uShaka Sea World within a week of each other after being found stranded on separate KZN beaches.
Gucci arrived from Port Edward on the lower South Coast and Havaiana from Tinley Manor beach on the North Coast.
Both Gucci and Havaiana were markedly underweight on arrival but they have gained 1.8 and 2.8kgs respectively since arrival at uShaka Sea World.
"In addition to being underweight, Havaiana also had an injury to his leg that has thankfully, completely healed," said Animal Behaviourist, Kerry Cahill.
The tightly bonded pair follow each other when they are swimming and waddling about.
"Gucci is very good at keeping Havaiana in her vision and I have no doubt she will claim him as her lifelong mate once they are released," added Cahill.
Havaiana and Gucci were given their "flying colours" by resident veterinarian, Dr Francois Lampen, which meant that they were fit to travel to SANCCOB (The Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds) in Port Elizabeth to begin the final stage of their rehabilitation journey - preparing for release.
Seen in the picture, the two were placed in specially designed transport boxes to leave for Port Elizabeth on a flight out of King Shaka International Airport. Cahill travelled with the precious cargo to ensure their safe arrival at SANCCOB.
For more information contact Ann Kunz during office hours at uShaka Marine World on 031-3288222
African Penguin Awareness Day - 7th October 2017
This special day is dedicated to raising worldwide awareness about the plight of the endangered African penguin.
African penguins (also known as jackass penguins) are endemic to Southern Africa do not call anywhere else home. Unfortunately since the turn of the 20th century, the world has lost 99% of the African penguin population.
The African penguin joins the list of species said to be threatened by climate change and overfishing.
Juvenile penguins make their first journey to the sea alone. Instinctive cues which used to help them find food now put them in danger. When some of them arrive at their instinctive destination they find that the fish are no longer there because stocks have either collapsed or the fish have shifted their distribution eastwards.
So they're going to what should be the right places but human impacts mean that large numbers of African penguins now go hungry.