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One-Eyed African Penguin Receives Care from uShaka Sea World Team

The African penguin (Spheniscus demersus) rescued at Stiebel Rocks on the KwaZulu-Natal South coast on 2nd August 2018 is responding well to treatment under the watchful eyes of uShaka Sea World staff.

Cyclops, who was named after Marvel comics superhero, was in a severely compromised condition when he arrived at uShaka Sea World. He was dehydrated and markedly underweight and had an injured left flipper and only a right eye.  

The animal health team immediately started rehydration therapy and medical observations.  It was thought that Cyclops, who is approximately four months old, could have been born with a visual defect or had perhaps suffered an eye injury when he was very young.  The injury to his flipper on the other hand was recent – possibly from the bite of a small shark.

“It must be very difficult for a young penguin with only one eye to compete with other penguins for food and to skilfully avoid predators.  This could have led to him being found on a KZN beach thousands of kilometres from home, injured, dehydrated and malnourished.’ said Dr Caryl Knox SAAMBR Veterinarian. 

Cyclops spends his days resting in a temperature controlled playpen in the hospital where he is constantly monitored and given fluids, food, antibiotics and vitamins. “With all this pampering and care it is no wonder he has put on 1.28kgs since he arrived nine days ago.  This is a lot for such a small bird who only weighted 1.2Kgs when he arrived” said Kelly de Klerk, Animal Behaviourist.

Ushaka Sea Word would like to thank local resident, Graham Tilley, bird expert Andrew Pickles, and Dr Claire Norton who played various roles in ensuring Cyclops was well cared for from the time he washed ashore until he was in the care of uShaka Sea World staff.

African penguins (also known as Jackass Penguins) are endemic to southern Africa and cannot call anywhere else home. Unfortunately since the turn of the 20th century, the world has lost over 90% of the African penguin population. 

 uShaka Sea World animal care team are confident Cyclops will continue to respond well to treatment and that he will soon join the other penguins in the penguin rookery.