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|November 30, 2012 - Laurie Macha|
Today is my last day at SANCCOB, a very emotional and somber day. Although I was leaving later that day to start my journey back to the states, I figured I could at least work a half day to give one last helping hand.
I was assigned to help in pen 2 again for the morning. I worked with an American volunteer named Jessie. We worked diligently with the now 34 birds to give fluids, formula and fish for the morning. On Fridays the veterinarian examines the chicks to see how they are doing and if they can be moved to a different pen or if they might be able to handle more solid food.
Today we were able to move four of the chicks who lost all of their down and now considered blues into pen three with the other blues, juveniles and adults. Once we moved them I went to lend a hand to Jacqui who was alone in pen three. I helped with the birds with injuries and I got to see the weird bird with the odd coloring pattern. It's an adult bird that is mostly white with a few black spots – weird – guess this guy is doing fine although his countershading is a bit off. It did have a bite wound on its leg, almost looks like the mouth size of a cookie cutter shark. I also helped put BBG on the birds’ feet with bumblefoot. Once we were done with that I helped clean and re-bed her pen. This pen is re-bedded a little differently than the little chick pens. This pen gets mats and a few rugs, no towels and sheets. Once we were done with this I had to help catch a cormorant in the swimming pool, not one of my best skills. I got the cormorant into an enclosed area, didn't shut the gate behind me and he got away. Everyone knows that I'm a little tentative with the flighted birds so I got a lot of laughs and pretty much failed at my attempt. Cormorant 1, Laurie 0.
Once that fiasco was complete, it was time to start the noon waters for the chicks in pen two. Jessie and I breezed through that part and then it was time for me to get cleaned up, take a few more photos and say my good byes to the chicks and the staff. Of course, I had to get my photo taken with my favorite little chick 614. He was in an outdoor pen with Tracy and Marguerite today. Marguerite and Nola were in the pens and they started teasing me about checking my pockets when I leave....fearing that a certain little chickie known as 614 might, just might, find its way into my pocket as I leave. So, I got one last picture with him and then Nola gave me a tag to put on the stuffed penguin that I bought, so that I will remember my little “stout” friend from this trip. I think these little chicks have the best chance at survival since they stepped through the doors of SANCCOB!
I leave today with the greatest feelings of accomplishment and hopes that we have contributed to the survival of this species into the future. I am extremely privileged to have the opportunity to work with SANCCOB and extremely fortunate and thankful to work for Mystic Aquarium who supports and lives its mission, “to inspire people to care for and protect our ocean planet through education, research and exploration.” It is not often that a person can truly say “I love my job and it’s not hard to wake up every morning and go to work.” I hope that we can share our blessed days with all of you and inspire you to become involved and make a difference not only for our futures but the animals that we are entrusted with on our planet. Thank you to all of SANCCOB and Mystic Aquarium, “baii a danke” and see you back in the states! Look for Tracy's blogs and follow our continued journey of conservation!
Skittish African Penguins cross a road on Robben Island in South Africa.
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