IFAW appeals to save African penguins

The International Fund for Animal Welfare is pleading for volunteers and financial assistance to help save thousands of African penguins affected by last week’s South African oil tanker disaster.

Over 21 000 oiled African penguins are being cared for at Cape Town rehabilitation facilities with more expected, following the sinking of the oil tanker, Treasure, on 23rd June. According to IFAW, 44% of the world’s population of the African penguin has been affected by the disaster.

“This is unquestionably the world’s worst coastal bird disaster,” said IFAW’s Emergency Relief Director, Sarah Scarth. “Every single donation – little or large – that can be made available to assist in the de-oiling and rehabilitation of the penguins will be gratefully accepted.”

Supporters can visit www.ifaw.org to make their donations on line, whilst volunteers in South Africa should telephone (021) 480 7726/29/30/49.

The IFAW aims to clean 300 birds a day, as well as dosing them with activated charcoal to absorb any oil that has been ingested. Thirty of the world’s leading oiled wildlife rehabilitation experts from as far afield as Argentina, Canada, the USA, Germany and the UK have been flown to South Africa to help out in the crisis.

“Cape Town is now faced by a time bomb,” said Simon Pope of IFAW, on July 5th. “The Treasure still houses 900 tonnes of oil and, with bad weather expected by the end of the weekend, we’re hoping that extracting the remaining oil begins as quickly as possible.”

To kick off the appeal yesterday, South Africa’s top models donated a much-needed consignment of sardines for the penguins.

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