This year’s exciting sardine run brought a surprise to the South Coast in the form of a lone little penguin on Thursday.
The lost little visitor was rescued at Margate beach.
Admiral Paul, as he’s been named, was initially taken to Lower South Coast SPCA before being collected and taken to uShaka Sea World.
Fortunately, he had no visible injuries and his X-rays were clear, reported the South African Association for Marine Biological Research (SAAMBR) department, based at uShaka Sea World.
“We estimate that he is approximately three months old and should weigh at least 2kgs. He weighed in at 1.2kgs, so he is definitely underweight and a little dehydrated.
“It is likely that he became separated from his group who were following the sardines and could not cope on his own,” SAAMBR added in a statement.
Kelly de Klerk, uShaka Sea World Senior Animal Behaviourist, commented, “Despite being underweight, little Admiral is strong, feisty and already able to stand up on his own.
“This means that we are able to feed him small sardines which he is greedily accepting.
“I believe that he will soon be strong enough to ‘fly’ back to Port Elizabeth into the care of SANCCOB staff who will prepare him for release.”
SAAMBR thanked everyone who played a role “in ensuring that Admiral is being given a second chance in life.”
African penguins, also known as Jackass penguins, are endemic to southern Africa and cannot call anywhere else home.
Since the turn of the 20th century, the world has lost 99% of the African penguin population.
If you come across a marine animal in distress on one of KZN’s beaches, please contact SAAMBR on 031 328 8060.
They will get in touch with members of the KZN Stranding Network stationed closest to a caller as they can assist in transporting the distressed animal or bird.
The Stranded Animal Booklet can be downloaded HERE.