One of our newer projects, the Penguin Splash Pool has been used to rehabilitate a variety of marine species already. Each year, Tenikwa receives between 40-60 African Penguins for rehabilitation. These penguins come ashore at various beaches along the Garden Route. Often suffering from malaria, babesia and generally in a weakened, debilitated state, the penguins are brought to Tenikwa for stabilisation. Each penguin is checked thoroughly, dewormed and their blood tested for parasites. After a few days care in our wildlife hospital, the penguins become more perky and once our vet has given it the "All Clear", it is time to introduce the penguin to our Penguin Splash Pool - our marine rehabilitation section.
The penguins love to swim and also stand on the rocks which have been placed by the water's edge. Swimming is natural for a penguin, but sometimes they need to be forced to swim to encourage water-proofing of their feathers, drinking and cleaning.
Our mural which covers the walls of the enclosure, depicts the story of penguins, from dangers and threats they face in the ocean, to the process of rehabilitation and release. Leon Steiner designed the mural, and it is is only a start. We hope to add much, much more to it, as it becomes a tool to increase awareness about the plummeting population of African Penguins.
Since the marine area has been operational, it has already been home to Cape Fur Seals, Egrets, Cormorants, Gannets, Terns, Seagulls, Penguins and an Oyster Catcher Chick, so it is an enclosure that is used on a daily basis by the rehabilitation centre.
Since installing the pool, we have really battled to keep the water in good condition. After months of battling, we have come across an environment friendly pool system called Eco Aqua Magic. Initial tests look very good, and we hope we have finally discovered the solution to keeping the water quality good whilst not hammering the environment at the same time.