When you head to Mossdustria, the industrial estate in Mossel Bay, the last thing you would expect to find is a waddle of African penguins and Cape gannets guzzling fish and squawking happily. However, hidden deep in its recesses on a small, unassuming plot of land, conservationists fight to save these highly endangered seabirds from various injuries and, ultimately, extinction.
The Seabird and Penguin Rehabilitation Centre (SAPREC) was founded in March 2005 by penguin lover and experienced rehabilitator, Carol Walton. She has been working with the birds for over 30 years, starting out as a member of SANCCOB (South African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds) in Cape Town.
After moving to Mossel Bay, Carol became the first point of call for people who found the injured seabirds as they knew of her previous experience. She began housing the injured birds in her garage. However, as more calls came in, she saw the need for a bigger centre. SAPREC’s current facility is what Carol calls “core rehabilitation”, where penguin release is the priority. Although there are around 15 birds that cannot be released, the centre receives birds in various states, with some birds suffering deformities from seal bites and others the victims of human carelessness, like plastic pollution or boat propellers. Once the birds reach the centre, they are checked, given the necessary medication or physical rehabilitation, and are then released at Fransmanshoek beach near Vleesbaai. Carol has helped thousands of birds through this process, which is crucial for the survival of their species.
To enjoy a unique experience up close with the African penguin, please visit the centre at 39 Voorlopersingel, Mossdustria, Mossel Bay.
Feeding times are at 9h00 and 14h00, with an entrance fee of R40 per adult and R20 per child.
Please note that this is a viewing experience only and that no personal interaction with penguins or seabirds will take place. Please call us to make a booking at 082 364 3382.
For further information please visit our website https://www.saprec.org