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|November 21, 2012 - Laurie Macha|
Today I had the opportunity to observe and learn the chick sorting process from Nicky, the bird manager at SANCCOB. When chicks are admitted they get moved to areas or pens that are suitable to their size, weight and health condition.
On Monday, 19 chicks were admitted to the center and most went into the CRU. After a few days of treatment in CRU, it was time to reevaluate to see if any were strong enough to move to ICU or other pens. As we were going through this process there was a call that 18 chicks were collected from Stony Point and were on their way to the center. It seems as though more chicks may be coming in on a regular basis. This quickly demanded that more plans would need to be sought out. Now some of the larger of the smaller chicks will be moved to outdoor pens with heat lamps. As more and more chicks come in, more pens will be made to hold them for treatments and rehabilitation.
Once we finished with the chicks in the CRU, Nicky walked me around the center and we looked at all the pens with birds, looked at how the birds were doing and then Nicky pointed out which pens would be suitable for the numbers of chicks coming in. In our journey we made a stop to home pen. Home pen is a permanent enclosure for their non-releasable birds. I was able to give a shout to a few of the birds I met the last time I was at SANCCOB. Rocky the rockhopper was sporting great yellow tufts of feathers, while Milo and Columbine were also in newly molted feathers. Nicky took great pleasure in introducing "String" to me. When the staff at SANCCOB heard of our beloved String passing away in September 2011, they sent us a beautiful message with their deepest sorrows and in honor of our String they named one of their non-releasable chicks after her. We are so blessed to have such wonderful and caring friends and it is such a privilege to work and be a part of their team. I can't wait to send a picture to show you all the new String. This String is very cute and really dotes on attention from the staff. Doesn't that sound familiar!
Shortly after our walk-through, I was given the opportunity to tag along with Carole to Boulders Beach in Simonstown. Carole had meetings at Boulders so I was able to walk around the colony. Boulders is so beautiful and there were many birds hanging around molting. This time I was able to walk to the public beach, where penguins and humans share the beach! As I was walking there I ran into a new critter that I have never seen before. It was a Dassie (as it is called in South Africa) or also known as a rock hyrax. It was so beautiful, munching on the leaves and branches of the shrubs. I walked a little further and there were about eight of them on the rooftop and in the trees, even young! Then I noticed the very long, vicious teeth they had—cute yes, cuddly NO!
Skittish African Penguins cross a road on Robben Island in South Africa.
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