The Rehabilitation Centre receives approximately 60 penguins each year for rehabilitation. These penguins come ashore once they have been washed out into strong currents and away from their colonies. At the centre the penguins are checked over, blood tests are taken and they are dewormed. Many of the penguins are too weak to eat by themselves and they have to be tubed with a fish gruel. Some need to be medicated for Babesia, a blood parasite, and many have already contracted pneumonia from over-exposure.
Once they are stablised in our wildlife hospital, they are moved into an outside area where they can enjoy a swim. Having a splash pool available for the penguins will assist them in their road to recovery and release. Swimming encourages grooming, as well as a sense of well being. The Penguin Splash Pool area has a sunning area for the penguins and natural shrubbery for cover. Visitors may observe the penguins through one-way glass. No contact is allowed with the penguins, because they are in the process of rehabilitation, but a glimpse of these charismatic creatures is all it takes to know that we need to do something urgently to stop their dramatic slide towards extinction.
The penguins stay at Tenikwa on average about 10 days in order to stabilize them, before being transferred to a marine rehabilitation centre where they stay around 4 months before being released in small groups back to the colony.
The Penguin Splash Pool is one of the new features at Tenikwa, being purpose built to accommodate rehabilitation penguins, but also to raise awareness of the rapid decline in penguin populations around the South African Coastline.
Money was raised through sponsorships and selling of curios at Tenikwa. Red Alert Security, Plett Seabird Rescue and Birdlife SA (Plett) donated funds toward the construction of the penguin splash pool.
The construction of the enclosure was headed up by Awie Miggels and his team of builders from Kurland Village as a job-creation opportunity, and the specially designed pool (to cope with penguin poop!), was created by CX Pools.
We are also grateful to Jackie and Jose from Eco H2 Zero for sponsoring the environmentally friendly chemicals required to keep the pool in good condition.
Read more about the plight of the penguin ...