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BirdLife South Africa Press Release: 10 July 2000

 

BIRDLIFE SOUTH AFRICA HELPS FUND PENGUIN RESCUE

BirdLife South Africa today (Monday 10 July 2000 ) handed over a cheque to help with the penguin rescue operation being undertaken by the South African National Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds SANCCOB.

The R100,000 in aid was handed to Estelle van der Merwe, chief executive of SANCCOB, in the presence of Deputy Minister for Environmental Affairs, Joyce Mabudafhasi. The money will be used to help with the work done to ensure that the threatened African penguin, one of the world's most endangered birds, is able to survive the effects of the 'Treasure' oilspill.

BirdLife South Africa is the South African partner of BirdLife International, a global partnership of bird conservation organizations with a combined membership of 2½ million members in more than 100 countries.

Chris Harbard, from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, the UK BirdLife partner, presented the money on behalf of BirdLife South Africa. "These types of oil spills happen with frightening frequency" said Mr Harbard, who visited Dassen Island last week and helped to rescue some penguin chicks. "Just as the operation to clean these birds is one involving international co-operation, with experts from many countries, so the only way to prevent such damaging spills in future is through international controls and agreements.

"It is essential that the seaworthiness of any vessel carry potentially damaging loads is checked regularly, especially that of oil tankers. Even an ore carrier like 'Treasure' has enough fuel on board to threaten a species like the African penguin with oblivion."