The Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB) is a nature conservancy organisation dedicated to protecting and reintroducing birds, particularly endangered species such as the African penguin, native to Southern Africa's coastal region. Since its foundation in 1968, the organisation has rescued over 100,000 sea birds. The reception centre is located in Cape Town. ARTIS supports three SANCCOB initiatives.
Chick Bolstering project
ARTIS is part of the Chick Bolstering project. This project involves removing weak and abandoned penguin chicks from the wild penguin colonies and rehabilitating them at the SANCCOB centre until they are healthy enough to be released back into the wild. Part of the project also includes exploring the possibility of starting a new colony of African penguins (Spheniscus demersus) in order to make this species' situation less vulnerable.
Medicine, care and food
ARTIS helps cover the organisation's general expenses. These include the costs for medicine, care and food for the recovering birds and chicks before they can be returned to the wild.
ARTIS also contributes funding to the Mobile Science Lab education project. SANCCOB's Nature Education Centre offers schools a programme that provides students with the opportunity to conduct experiments and research in class, and to learn about nature and threats associated with pollution in the process.
European breeding programme
ARTIS is the coordinator of the European breeding programme (EEP) for the African penguin. As coordinator, ARTIS is responsible for making sure that the population of African penguins in European zoos stays healthy. This is done by recording and updating the studbook for the African penguins, ensuring a good exchange of animals between the zoos participating in the EEP and more.
The ultimate goal of the European breeding programmes is to increase the population of endangered species in the wild. This sometimes works, but in many cases, the animals' natural habitat is not safe, for example on account of poaching, overfishing or habitat destruction. In these cases, reintroduction of an endangered species cannot be justified, and the restoration of a safe habitat will have to take priority.
Animal: African penguin
Location: Southern Africa