Ocean Community News

The Florida Aquarium Donates Much-Needed Equipment to South African Penguin Rescue Facility

There are many days that pay tribute the beloved penguin - from today’s Penguin Awareness Day to World Penguin Day (April 25) and African Penguin Awareness Day (October 13). And, why not celebrate the wonder of penguins?

While the dates are different, the goal is the same - to help raise awareness about these often-imperiled birds.  With The Florida Aquarium’s focus on saving animals from extinction, African penguin conservation is at the heart of its mission programs.   

Delivering on that mission, The Florida Aquarium recently provided funding to our conservation partner, the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB) for the purchase of two hydraulic veterinary tables.   

SANCCOB, a registered non-profit, is among the world’s preeminent seabird rescue and rehabilitation organization with a primary objective of reversing the decline of seabird populations through the rescue, rehabilitation and release of ill, injured, abandoned and oiled seabirds.  

Once a thriving wild population, the number of African Penguins is rapidly declining; without mitigation of the many threats they face, this species faces extinction in our lifetime.  

The new hydraulic tables will help SANCCOB deliver much-needed care to seabirds, like African penguins, that come through the rescue program as the team of veterinary professionals stabilize, diagnose and treat birds suffering from a wide variety of illnesses and injuries.   

“The tables are a big improvement for our surgical theatres,” said Dr. David Roberts, SANCCOB Clinical Veterinarian. “They are made from high-quality, corrosion-resistant stainless steel which allows regular, thorough disinfection. We can also adjust the table height to suit different surgeons, patients and surgical procedures.”   

In 2019, a member of The Florida Aquarium’s animal care team travelled to South Africa to work on the frontlines of SANCCOB’s rescue efforts. Unable to send staff since the start of the global pandemic, the Aquarium is hopeful to return to South Africa in 2022 to support rescue and rehabilitation efforts.   

“With the fate of the African penguin at a crossroads, it’s our responsibility as a leading wildlife conservation organization to increase our efforts in support of saving these magnificent birds,” said Roger Germann, President and CEO of The Florida Aquarium. “Today that means providing financial resources to our conservation partners and lending our voice to support penguin conservation. We are committed to conservation efforts here in Tampa Bay and in South Africa, now and into the future.”

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