SAVING THE African penguin

The Good Business Journey is Woolworths’ plan to make a difference for people, communities, and the environment. Through partnerships with our customers and SANCCOB, we are raising awareness of the plight of the endangered African penguin. Sardine and anchovy are their main prey and lack of food contributes to declining numbers in the wild. SANCCOB rescues hundreds of abandoned African penguin eggs and chicks each year to be hand-reared and released to bolster the population. When you buy this bag, Woolworths will give R10 on your behalf to SANCCOB’s Chick Bolstering Project.


SANCCOB is a non-profit, marine conservation organisation, whose primary objective is to reverse the decline of seabird populations through the rescue, rehabilitation and release of ill, injured, abandoned and oiled seabirds – especially endangered seabirds like the African penguin. The organisation was established in 1968, after a devastating oil spill off the coast of Cape Town affected 60 African penguins and a suitable rehabilitation centre was needed. The organisation works closely with colony managers to identify birds in the wild in need of care, or abandoned African penguin eggs, and bring them to one of its two centres: Cape Town in the Western Cape and Gqeberha (Port Elizabeth) in the Eastern Cape. SANCCOB’s Cape Town Centre admits approximately 2,500 ill, injured, oiled and abandoned seabirds every year, of which more than half are endangered African penguins – the only penguin species endemic to the African continent. The centre also welcomes about 175 local and international volunteers, over 4,000 visitors and tourists, and more than 2,400 learners on its premises every year.


African penguin eggs and chicks are often abandoned by their parent birds in the colonies, either due to extreme weather conditions or a lack of food, which leads to breeding birds abandoning their offspring to ensure their own survival. Unsafe nesting too close to the shoreline or in gardens of residents around the colonies are also reasons for SANCCOB’s intervention to save this endangered species. SANCCOB employs Penguin & Seabird Rangers to monitor the breeding birds and nests in the different colonies and intervene when necessary.

Healthy fish stocks play an integral role in sustaining not only human lives but also species such as the African penguin. African penguins rely on fish species such as anchovy and sardine as its main prey. Environmental changes as a result of climate change and competition with commercial fisheries has led to reduced food availability around African penguin breeding colonies, negatively impacting their populations in the wild.

Egg Season: SANCCOB admits hundreds of African penguin eggs from February and through the month of March. The eggs are incubated on-site in Table View in the specialised Chick Rearing Unit and once hatched, the chicks are hand-reared for approximately three to four months until grown and waterproof, and deemed fit for release to the wild.

Chick season: In the later months of the year (Oct/Nov) is the time where SANCCOB admits abandoned African penguin chicks – these chicks have not yet fledged when their parent birds start their annual moult so the parents cannot enter the ocean to hunt for fish to feed their young. SANCCOB hand-rears these chicks for release too.

Young penguin chicks in the wild. Photo by Jessica Kemper


The African Penguin Chick Bolstering Project (CBP) was established with the aim of arresting and reversing the decline of the African penguin population by releasing hand-reared chicks into the wild and conducting related research. Its research aims include understanding the first-year survival of African penguins, the foraging behaviour of juvenile penguins and the recruitment of African penguin chicks into the wild breeding population. Annually, SANCCOB admits 400 to 900 abandoned African penguin eggs and chicks to its centre for hatching and hand-rearing in its specialised Chick Rearing and Nursery units.

Penguin 2


The African Penguin Chick Bolstering Project (CBP) was established in 2006. The Chick Rearing Unit (CRU) was established in 2011 to build local expertise to hand-rear abandoned African penguin chicks from eggs and contains highly specialised equipment including incubators, brooders and other husbandry equipment.


The Chick Bolstering Project has several fundable components, including costs associated with rescuing and rearing of chicks during periods of mass abandonment, supporting the Chick Rearing Unit, the funding of tracking devices and research to monitor the welfare and movement of the wild birds.

Who are the principle people in the organisation, who will be directly involved in the implementation of the funds?

Dr Stephen van der Spuy – SANCCOB Chief Executive Officer

Melissa Cadman – SANCCOB Chick Rearing Unit Supervisor

Dr Katrin Ludynia – SANCCOB Research Manager

Romy Klusener – SANCCOB Rehabilitation Manager

Ronnis Daniels – SANCCOB Resource Development Manager


• Purchasing one the African Penguin bags or bracelets already shows your support of this project.

• Adopt and name an African penguin by visiting  or adopt an African penguin Egg

• Report injured penguins and/or oiled birds to SANCCOB by calling (021) 557 6155 (normal work hours) / 078 638 3731 (after hours & weekends) or to SANParks on 021 786 2329 (office hours) or 0861 106417 (24-hour emergency number)

• Donate to SANCCOB online at or see what items are needed on SANCCOB’s Wish List

• Visit SANCCOB’s online shop for penguin goodies at

• Raise funds for SANCCOB by simply swiping your MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet card:

• Consider leaving a gift in your Will to SANCCOB

• Host an event in lieu of a special occasion and consider selecting SANCCOB as the beneficiary of funds raised.


• Website:

• Facebook:

• Twitter:   @SANCCOB

• Instagram:   sanccob_savesseabirds

• YouTube:

• For more info on the Bags4good project, go to:

or e-mail

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