The African Penguin and Seabird Sanctuary (APSS) was opened in Gansbaai recently marking a monumental milestone for the conservation of the African penguin and other marine birds in the Overstrand region of the Western Cape.
A custom designed, world-class, marine bird rehabilitation centre, the APSS will provide temporary rehabilitative care to diseased, displaced, injured, oiled and abandoned marine birds, with a special focus on the endangered African penguin.
Marine bird rescue, rehabilitation and release form part of the management plan to conserve and maintain African penguins and other marine bird populations along the South African coastline.
Featuring a unique rehabilitation area with a specialised floor, laboratory and clinic, the APSS rehabilitation techniques will be honed to afford birds individual treatment with minimum stress. This maximises their rehabilitation and affords them the best chance of survival when released back into the wild.
Through continued research, education and awareness programmes, the APSS, a project driven by the Dyer Island Conservation Trust (DICT) in conjunction with tourism partners Marine Dynamics and Dyer Island Cruises, aims to mitigate the human impact on marine bird colonies.
Minister of Tourism Derek Hanekom, who spoke at the event and officially opened the centre, said in his speech; “Projects of this nature are about the common good – good for environment, good for the community and good for the country as a whole.”
“The support we received from our partners and affiliates, as well as the donations of materials from various corporates to complete the APSS have been a big vote of confidence in our work through the Dyer Island Conservation Trust,” said Wilfred Chivell, founder of DICT and APSS.
“We are grateful to have sponsors and partners who recognise the importance of this facility in the conservation of our marine birds. We are the voice of these species that cannot speak for themselves.”
Among the guests attending the launch were the Overstrand Mayor, Nicolette Botha-Guthrie, and representatives from corporate sponsors Volkswagen South Africa and Grindrod Bank.