Recently, while angling at Blombos, local Stilbaai angler, Graeme Forrer and his angling friends came upon an African penguin (Spheniscus demersus) that had fallen into an ecological trap and was too weak to continue. Forrer, together with Vlooi Botha, Bernard Forrer and Cleo Rowe took it home, nursed it, bathed and fed it and walked penguin ‘Winston Churchill’ until they could safely deliver him to SANCCOB (Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds).
Graeme Forrer – @yo_fishy on Instagram – tells how astounding it was to watch Ozzy, the King Charles Cavalier with his loving nature, as he expressed his concern and even managed to lick the penguin clean without having his tongue pierced! Said Graeme: “Penguins are certainly not pets and should always be handed to professional care as soon as possible,” – which they did. Marna Smit, Sanccob bird rehabilitator, said to the Cape Argus that although the organisation do not advise keeping a wild animal, the penguin was ina better state when it arrived there than when the anglers took it in.
“When you find a bird you must bring it in immediately. If it doesn’t run away from you or try to get back into the ocean, that means there is a problem and the bird needs help. In this case the bird was dehydrated, weak and could barely walk.” – Cape Argus. The penguin was taken to the vet and is currently in recovery.
Graeme Forrer, a catch and release angler who recently also competed in the 25th Stilbaai Galjoen Derby where his team scored bronze medals from 71 participating teams (432 anglers), dedicated his Instagram post about the ‘once in a lifetime experience’ to “the good souls who love fishing and make a positive impact on our beaches and the surrounding environment.”