UPDATE ON AFRICAN PENGUIN CHICKS ADMITTED DUE TO MOULTING PARENTS
Report by SANCCOB Veterinarian and Researcher Dr. Nola Parsons as at 27 November 2010
A total of 429 chicks have been admitted to SANCCOB (Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds) since 11 November 2010. Of these, 270 were removed from the Betty’s Bay colony, 155 from Dyer Island, 2 from Robben Island, 1 from the Boulders and 1 chick hatched from a Home pen pair.
The chicks from both Betty’s Bay and Dyer Island colonies were in poor condition on arrival at SANCCOB and there have been 26 deaths so far (6% total admitted). Samples have been sent for bacterial culture to determine the organism/s involved in the deaths.
Condition data (head and mass measurements) were taken on most of the chicks on admission to SANCCOB and this has been forwarded to the relevant people. The same data will be collected on birds on death or release. This data will be used to objectively evaluate the condition of chicks on arrival as well as to determine the outcome and survival of chicks based on their condition. We have also taken 40 samples for the Seabird Health Survey, approximately 20 each from the Betty’s Bay and Dyer Island colonies.
There are approximately 90 P4 chicks or blues that we have upgraded to swimming and of these, approximately 25 have started a forced swim of 20 minutes 3 times daily. This means that we hope to release the first batch of blues around the 7 December 2010. I placed 15 of the trial rubber bands on flippers of birds starting swimming on 23 November and hope to evaluate these after 2 weeks of swimming. No birds will be released with bands until the project partners have agreed on the use of these bands. -SANCCOB
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