Ryan Holmes, coxswain at Station 9 Gordon’s Bay reported that on Sunday the 18th of September at 12h03 they received a call from a member of the public name Etienne who had picked up a juvenile penguin on Gordon’s Bay beach. The young penguin was reported to be tired and disorientated.
Etienne had called the SA Foundation for the conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB) who assured him they would send a volunteer representative to fetch the bird. As Etienne and his family could not wait for the SANCCOB member they called the Station 9 Gordon’s Bay duty phone and asked for help.
The Starboard crew of Station 9 Gordon’s Bay responded to the rescue base taking over the babysitting of the cute but very subdued penguin. Crewmember Henriette kept the penguin in the shower with the door closed as not to further traumatise it. After a short wait the SANCCOB member arrived and quickly identified it to be a 3-4 month old juvenile who most likely was out on its first fishing experience and got separated from its parents. The spring tides and large swell most likely added to the penguins challenges.
The SANCCOB member informed the crew that an adult penguin would be a lot more aggressive and then taught them how to handle a larger bird without getting bitten. They were allowed to handle the bird before he took it away in a big box, reassuring the crew that they would feed it and when healthy and strong release it into the wild. The crew expressed that it was a lovely fulfilling experience to interact with nature in this way. Sincere thanks to Etienne for contacting Sea Rescue, who are always happy to help and be involved.