Gansbaai Courant

Blog: A dream fulfilled - full time with penguins

Published: 09 February 2017
By:Gansbaai Courant

The Dyer Island Conservation Trust (DICT) is pleased to welcome Theanette Staal to the team. Theanette will take on the role of Manager at the African Penguin and Seabird Sanctuary.

Theanette has a BA in Political Science but realised her true calling was with animals. After obtaining a certificate in field guiding she went on to gain a University diploma in Veterinary Nursing and is a registered veterinary nurse with the SA Vet Council. Theanette also studied for a certificate in Osteoarthritis management in small animals (including Physical Rehabilitation). Theanette has had a varied career from guiding overland trips and working at a ski resort in the USA to working as a night sister in the UK, and night ICU sister at Onderstepoort.

She has physical rehabilitation experience having worked at a small animal rehabilitation clinic.

Theanette’s last  position  was at the Donkey Sanctuary in McGregor as donkey care manager where she also co-presented "animal welfare assessment" workshops to animal welfare, law enforcement and donkey rescue organisations.

Theanette is just as excited to be working at APSS, “I grew up with a love and respect for nature and enjoyed some overland guiding for a while. I always loved animals and had a special bond with them, but especially with penguins and donkeys. Since working with penguins for the first time in 2007 at Penguins Eastern Cape, it's been a dream to have the opportunity to work with them in a permanent capacity. My main vision has always been to ‘Make a difference’ through whatever I do, wherever I am.”

Theanette had perfect timing and arrived at the same time as the abandoned African penguin chicks off Dyer Island. As the adult penguins go into their annual molt and are unable to feed their late bred chicks, we take over that job for them. It is critical we are able to feed and strengthen these penguin chicks to be able to release them back on Dyer Island to become the next breeding generation. With a brood of over 50 penguins to look after at the moment, Theanette has been full steam ahead. Trudi Malan who has been working at the sanctuary will continue to represent the Trust at penguin forums.

The African Penguin and Seabird Sanctuary is open every day from 09:00 till 16:00.

Feeding times can be observed at 15:00. Penguin rescue line: 072 598 7117.

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