By: Ann Kunz
Today the first African penguin to strand on a KZN beach this year was admitted to the uShaka Sea World penguin hospital. She was found on the main beach at Salt Rock by visitors who watched over her until the uShaka Sea World staff arrived.
She was named Amber before she even arrived as this years stranded penguin theme is colours. Amber is a juvenile penguin who thankfully has no concerning external injuries. She does have surface injuries to both her left and right feet which have already started healing. She is very thin, dehydrated and exhausted.
We are a little concerned that she has a higher than normal parasite load which requires monitoring. She has been given rehydration fluids, antibiotics and deworming medication and left to rest. Hopefully she will be strong enough to start nibbling on sardine tails tomorrow.
Although penguins are not naturally found in KZN, it is not unusual to come across a stranded penguin on one of KZN’s beaches at this time of the year. When a penguin leaves the ocean and comes to rest on a KZN beach, they are inevitably in trouble and need human assistance.
If you come across a stranded penguin, please do not attempt to put it back in the water, feed it or disturb it in any way. Remember, it is exhausted and needs every ounce of its vital energy to get over its ordeal at sea.
Please contact us as soon as you are able to on 031 – 328 8222 (this number is manned 24/7) and we will contact one of our partners on the KZN Marine Stranding Network who is in the closest proximity to you.