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|December 7, 2012 - Tracy Camp|
|I got to experience another pen today that I haven't been in before, pen two. Pen two has a lot of fluffy chicks that are not yet little blues, but are bigger and stronger than the chicks in the ICU. So far this has been my favorite pen to be in. I think just because these ones are not as bitey as the older ones, they are still cute and fluffy and you don't have to worry as much as about them since they are stronger. I ran the routine with one of the volunteers or "vollies" as they call them, Matt. Matt was very interested in learning all of the information I have to share about African penguins. While doing the feeding we were able to talk about some penguin adaptations as well as how we take care of them in an aquarium. He was amazed to learn how different our care is for our penguins. But I explained of course that it is because our penguins are healthy and safe and that rehabilitation is a very different world. However, I did also get the chance to bring in some of my knowledge to share with and teach the staff here today. Marguerite asked me to come with her into their home pen today and teach her about our training program with our birds. They have several birds that live in their home pen that they would like to start training to be able to use for education purposes, much the same way we do for our encounter programs. She also was interested in learning how we train our birds for their health care. While we were in there, I finally got to be introduced to their String as well as Rocky, Stargazer, Robben and Beak Boy. Marguerite asked me at one point if I truly thought they had the ability to train some of their birds or if it was a lost cause. My response was that nothing is lost and you can train any animal if you have the time and the patience. Just don't give up on them. Today was also an exciting day because it was pelican washing day! The pelican they have had needed a good scrubbing to remove the oil from his feathers so that he can fly again. Restaurants here sometimes discard of their used cooking oil by just tossing it outside. They are not supposed to do this, but sometimes they do anyway. Of course used cooking oil smells like yummy food, so it attracts birds and other wildlife like pelicans. They come searching for something to eat and then get the oil all over their feathers preventing them from flying. That's what happened to this pelican. They brought in four extra vollies today, just to wash the pelican. They make a very large tub to put him into and fill it with soapy water to properly scrub him. One vollie holds his head, two hold his body and steady his wings and one washes him down. They use toothbrushes to scrub over his entire body getting each and every feather. After the scrubbing, it is time for a rinse. The pelican will spend a few more days here now that he is clean, just to make sure he is waterproof again, strong enough and ready to back into the wild. The pelican wasn't the only story of hope today. Today they also were able to do a release and send four penguins and one giant petrel back into the wild. How awesome is that! Did you know that to date, research shows that the population of the African penguin is 19% greater because of SANCCOB’s efforts? They truly do great work! I am proud to be a part of it!|
Skittish African Penguins cross a road on Robben Island in South Africa.
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