What a busy weekend! The past few days have been very action packed. The rehabilitators at SANCCOB are some of the hardest working people I have ever met. I am in awe of how much gets accomplished in a single day in order to provide these vulnerable animals with the best chance of survival. If the routine wasn’t hectic enough, it seems like the phone is constantly ringing with new leads on animals in need of assistance.
While African penguin chick season should be slowing down around this time, SANCCOB has admitted quite a few new chicks in the last couple of days. I was fortunate enough to observe and assist with some of the African penguin admissions that they have made recently. A lot goes on when a penguin first arrives at SANCCOB.
When a new bird comes into the center, the person bringing it in gives a description of why they are bringing it to SANCCOB and where the animal was found. Sometimes it might be a colony manager who observes these animals closely. Other times it is just a good samaritan who stumbles upon a sick or injured animal and looks to SANCCOB for help. Once an account of the problem has been taken and the bird arrives, it is assigned an identification number. The first African penguin I helped to admit was AP1027. The next thing that occurs is weighing and a hydration test to determine the overall condition of the new patient.
Next, a physical examination by a SANCCOB rehabilitator or veterinarian occurs. During this process, they will palpate the animal’s body, looking for any injuries or abnormalities, and examine for parasite presence. By the end of the initial inspection, they will look over every square inch of the animal’s body including feet, inside their mouth, and underneath their feathers. They will also supplement the inspection with a small blood sample to better assess the animal’s health status.
Any initial treatments ranging from giving dewormers and tubing electrolytes to complex emergency procedures will be performed as well. One of the penguins admitted in the past few days had a fish hook removed from its esophagus! Next, the staff will come up with the regime for the penguin while it is rehabbed and identify the location where it will be cared for (pens, chick rearing unit, or intensive care unit) To keep detailed records, SANCCOB will track all of the information pertaining to a certain animal on their card. This will serve as a communication log during the admitted bird’s time at SANCCOB. This way, we are able to provide the best care possible for that animal.
With many different admissions that I helped with, I was excited that this abandoned chick in particular was assigned to pen 10 because I will be continuing to providing its care during the rest of my time at SANCCOB!