WWF Press Release: 17-21 July 2000
WWF South Africa
With both Peter and Percy safely home on Robben and Dassen Island respectively, Pamela is now in the home-stretch, south of Danger Point. She should arrive home at Dassen Island by tomorrow (Saturday). (To follow her progress, visit the Animal Demography Unit's website at http://www.uct.ac.za/)
An exquisite oil painting of penguins has been generously donated by Cape Town artist Elizabeth Poulsom to raise funds for the WWF Penguin Appeal. Visit the on-line auction to make your bid at www.thelot.co.za
SANCCOB has urged members of the public to keep on supporting them. Volunteers must please call one of the following numbers to help: 480 7726/29/30/49.
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Percy was just a few kilometres short of Dassen Island yesterday morning, and we expect today's fixes to be on dry land, back home. As fast as he was (13 days), 100s of penguins have made the journey in a day or two fewer. Some of these birds have been weighed. We are pleased to report that all the weights were above average. Clearly, they did not starve in their efforts to get home quickly. Pamela has rounded Cape Agulhas, and is now swimming in the Atlantic Ocean.
Today is "welcome home penguins" day. At an event planned for the media on Robben Island, first prize would have been finding Peter. But unfortunately the boat trip has been postponed due to the inclement weather. We have had no new positions from him today, as his satellite tag has been off for most of it.
An exquisite oil painting of penguins has been generously donated by Cape Town artist Elizabeth Poulsom to raise funds for the WWF Penguin Appeal. Visit the on-line auction to make your bid at www.thelot.co.za .
As we come to the end of the big penguin trek, this saga is far from over. It is now that the rehabilitation of the nearly 25 000 birds only starts. SANCCOB will be needing volunteers for at least another two months. Get involved, take a fortnight's leave, and participate in the world's largest bird rescue operation ever. You will not regret the experience.
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Prof Les Underhill of the Animal Demography Unit at the University of Cape Town says Peter is probably puzzled to be missing his neighbours; many of them are still sitting at SANCCOB, either still waiting their turn in the queue for the wash tub, or busy regaining their waterproofing. Happily, thanks to the quality of the response by an enormous number of people and organisations, the vast majority of these neighbours will ultimately return.
According to Prof Underhill, we can only marvel at the navigational feats of our penguins with their SAP-sponsored satellite transmitters. "If a real bird gets lost, it can fly a kilometre or so up in the air, and get its bearings. The horizon is always a kilometre or two away for a penguin. We know nothing about the psychology of penguins, and the best we can do is write a novel about the thoughts that have been passing through Peter's brain over the past three weeks since the landing beach on his island was covered in oil. (Where is my mate? Where are my chicks?) We allowed him the dignity of slipping ashore quietly. This is largely because our technology cannot make an exact prediction of time and place. On Thursday, Percy should be back on Dassen Island too, and everyone should plan to have a 'Welcome home penguins' party that day at home, at office and at school."
Sanccob Salt River would welcome donated fish for the penguins. Cathy Williams of Sanccob has also confirmed that they do not have the number of volunteers they require to rehabilitate the African penguins. Sanccob desperately needs help - they need at least 1 000 volunteers per day, every day for at least the next month. After that, they'll still need significant numbers of volunteers for 2 to 3 months. Please contact the Volunteer Call Centre on (021) 480 7726 / 29 / 30 / 49.
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Percy, from Dassen Island, is south of Hangklip and Pamela, also from Dassen Island, is near Cape Infanta. (To follow their progress, visit the Animal Demography Unit's website at http://www.uct.ac.za/)