Future of African penguin worrisome

Sanccob is worried about the future the African penguin after 155 were abandoned after breeding season.

Young, abandoned penguin chicks are taken in at SANCCOB every year and cared for in an attempt to boost colony numbers of the endangered birds. Picture: Aletta Gardner/EWN

CAPE TOWN - The South African National Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (Sanccob) says it's worried about the future of the African penguin as the endangered species needs protection.

Approximately 155 abandoned African penguin chicks have been admitted to centres in Tableview and Cape St Francis since the beginning of the month.

These chicks were abandoned at the end of the breeding season.

Every year during summer the bird rehabilitation centre admits more than 300 abandoned African penguin chicks from Stony Point, Boulders Beach and Robben Island.

Sanccob's Francois Louw says they spend between R500 and 1,000 to rehabilitate each bird.

He says although it's a time consuming and costly process, it's crucial to save every one of these endangered animals.

"If we get one penguin back into the wild and that penguin breeds, it's an exponential increase in the population."

Louw says there are fewer than 19,000 breeding pairs left in South Africa.