Buy a brick to help build seabird hospital

The African penguin population is in rapid decline.

The Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB) is building a new seabird hospital at its Table View centre.

The marine conservation non-profit organisation has partnered with the CapeTowner and its sister publications which are – published by Cape Community Newspapers (CCN) – to reach out to the public to support its building project.

Sanccob has been located next to the Rietvlei Nature Reserve for 34 years of nearly five decades in existence. The upgrade will offer improved amenities and space to continue its critical veterinarian and rehabilitation service to conserve the endangered African penguin species and other southern African seabirds.

Sanccob is the largest seabird rehabilitation organisation in South Africa and one of the busiest in the world. Almost 100 000 African penguins and seabirds have been admitted to Sanccob since its establishment in 1968 due to oiling, injury, illness or chick abandonment. The centre also welcomes about 175 local and international volunteers, more than 4 000 visitors and tourists, and more than 2 400 school pupils every year.

Construction of the new centre started in March 2017 and will include a new hospital building consisting of, among other, two intensive care units, a three-part wash bay area for oiled birds, a walk-in freezer to store increased amounts of fish, an expanded surgery, a laboratory, a medication room and a new X-ray room. The main pens, pool area and aviary will also be revamped and visitors to the centre will have a unique vantage point of the various pen areas from the new viewing deck.

With CCN’s newspapers reaching the homes of hundreds of thousands of Cape Town households and businesses, Sanccob and CCN are rallying up a community fund-raising drive that will help bring the building project to fruition. “Every year thousands of tourists flock to penguin colonies at Boulders Beach, Robben Island and Stony Point. It is hard to imagine not seeing the iconic African penguin species at these popular tourist sites,” said Sanccob’s fund-raising and marketing manager, Francois Louw.

While large numbers of African penguins can still be seen at the Boulders Beach and Stony Point colonies, the reality is that this penguin population is in rapid decline. From one million breeding pairs recorded about 80 years ago, only 2% remain in the wild today. “We have launched a Donate-a-brick campaign to fund-raise for the shortfall of the building project and invite our fellow community members and businesses to pledge their support with a donation of just R50 and be a part of this milestone in Sanccob history.

“Fifty rand seems like a drop in the ocean against our target but the collective giving of supporters from across the Cape Peninsula can help us make this a reality. In essence, R50 from 80 000 individuals, corporates and small businesses is all that is necessary to meet our goal before the building is complete in December,” Mr Louw added.

CCN editor Chantel Erfort added: “Many of us recall memorable visits to Sanccob during our school years and I know we can count on Capetonians opening their hearts – and their purses – to help Sanccob complete this very important project which will contribute significantly to the preservation of our penguin and seabird populations.”

To donate or find out more about Sanccob’s building project, visit or contact Ronnis Daniels on 021 557 6155 and