More than 150 Penguins affected by South African oil spill

An oil spill of undetermined origin is impacting African penguins in Algoa Bay in the Eastern Cape region of South Africa. Birds have been rescued from Bird and St. Croix islands, important breeding sites for this endangered species. St. Croix is home to more than 50% of the African Penguin population.

Authorities with the SA Maritime Safety Authority report that they have fined the owners of a ship suspected of spilling at least some of the oil during a ship to ship transfer. They are awaiting laboratory tests on oil taken from the penguins and from that ship as there is a suspicion that a second spill, or illegal bilge emptying, may have occurred around the same time. Cleanup is considered complete after several aerial surveys failed to find any further oil.

South African National Parks (SANParks) is working with the South African Marine Rehabilitation and Education Centre (SAMREC) and the South African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB) to rescue and care for both oiled birds and abandoned chicks in the wake of the spill.SANCCOB’s Port Elizabeth and Cape St. Francis facilities are presently caring for 90 oiled birds and 61 abandoned chicks.  No deaths have been reported as of 23 August.

The Herald newspaper and Mango Airlines are helping to raise awareness and providing supplies such as newspapers and towels to the responders.

Sources:
Endangered African Penguins under threat following oil spill. SABC.co.za. Accessed online 24 August 2016.
Oil spill disaster. Herald Live. Accessed online 24 August 2016
Oil spill in Eastern Cape. SANCCOB news. Accessed online 24 August 2016
91 penguins in danger after oil spill. Times Live. Accessed online 22 August 2016
Results of oil spill tests awaited. Herald Live. Accessed online 24 August 2016