Rebuilding The African Penguin Population

African Penguin & Seabird Sanctuary, a Dyer Island Conservation Trust initiative, is a world-class marine bird rehabilitation centre based in Kleinbaai in the Overstrand. The African Penguin & Seabird Sanctuary has been set up to assist the endangered African penguin, primarily working with the colony of Dyer Island, an Important Bird Area, where the species has declined dramatically by almost 90% in the last 30 years. This means the African penguin could be extinct within a decade without active intervention. The rescue, rehabilitation and release of every single penguin in distress, makes a crucial contribution to the conservation of the species. #EveryPenguinCounts. African Penguin & Seabird Sanctuary is open daily to the public from 9:00 to 16:00 each day with a feeding time that can be viewed at 15:00. Please note that during certain lockdown periods related to the coronavirus pandemic, the African Penguin & Seabird Sanctuary only opens to the public on weekends. Please check the sanctuary’s Facebook page for regular updates.

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The African Penguin & Seabird Sanctuary is a key conservation project of the Dyer Island Conservation Trust, registered as a non-profit organisation since 2006. 

Since its opening in 2015, the African Penguin & Seabird Sanctuary has welcomed local visitors, school groups and international tourists so as to share knowledge that will lead to the continued conservation and rehabilitation of African penguins and other seabirds.

Read more about the Dyer Island Conservation Trust, here.



The African Penguin & Seabird Sanctuary’s vision statement is as follows:

  • To ensure the implementation of innovative and dynamic protocols based on feedback
  • To maintain best practices to achieve optimal rehabilitation success
  • To contribute towards and participate in a workable oil spill contingency plan to service Overstrand’s coastline
  • To continue networking with all relevant authorities and other bodies in the field of marine bird rehabilitation and conservation
  • To provide a platform for furthering research into effective rehabilitation and release of marine birds to ensure the birds’ successful return to their colonies
Marine Animal Strandings

Marine Animal Strandings

The African Penguin & Seabird Sanctuary provides temporary care to abandoned, injured, diseased and oiled marine birds, with a special focus on the endangered African Penguin. By hosting tourists and school groups, the sanctuary educates visitors about African penguins and other vulnerable seabirds.

What to do if you find a stranded penguin or seabird

Coming across a penguin on the beach or rocks outside a colony is usually cause for concern. 

  • Keep dogs and people away 
  • Take a photo if possible (taking care not to disturb the bird) 
  • Send the location and image to the helpline
  • Do not feed the bird
  • Do not put the bird back into the water

Call the African Penguin & Seabird Sanctuary Rescue Line on: 

  • 0725987117 or 0829075607 (alternative number)


Turtles in Distress

Turtles in Distress

The African Penguin & Seabird Sanctuary is proud to be part of the Turtle Stranding Network and will ensure any turtle in need reaches Two Oceans Aquarium. 
Every year, thousands of loggerhead and leatherback sea turtles hatch on the beaches of northern KwaZulu-Natal. They then head out to sea and are carried southward by the warm Agulhas Current. Facing high levels of predation and strong currents, many hatchlings find themselves off the Cape's south coast. Stunned by the cold, weak and often injured, many inevitably wash up and are stranded on Overstrand beaches. Sea turtles, being temperate-water animals, don’t fare well in the icy Cape waters and it is crucial that they get help as quickly as possible. 

What to do if you find a stranded sea turtle

Coming across a sea turtle on the beach or in the shallows is cause for concern and a quick response time is imperative for survival.

  • Check if the turtle responds to touch (they often appear dead due to hypothermia)
  • Stay away from their mouths (they can bite, especially when afraid)
  • Do not put the turtle back in the water
  • Keep the turtle dry 
  • Use an open container to transport hatchlings (ice cream tub is perfect)
  • Lift larger turtles by their shells if you have to move them
  • Make sure the turtle is secure and can’t fall if you have to transport it on the back of a bakkie

Please remember, like humans, sea turtles breathe air and if a turtle can’t lift its head out of the water or is covered by a towel, sand or a closed container, it will suffocate.

The African Penguin and Seabird Sanctuary Rescue Line can be notified about turtle and any other marine animal strandings and they will pass the information on to the network. 


  • 0725987117 or 0829075607 (alternative number)



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