Hand-rearing and subsequent release of African penguin Spheniscus demersus chicks orphaned by an oil spill, Robben Island, Western Cape, South Africa

  • Published source details Barham P.J., Underhill L.G., Crawford R.J.M., Altwegg R., Leshoro T.M., Bolton D.A., Dyer B.M. & Upfold L. (2008) The efficacy of hand-rearing penguin chicks: evidence from African penguins (Spheniscus demersus) orphaned in the Treasure oil spill in 2000. Bird Conservation International, 18, 144-152


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Artificially incubate and hand-rear penguins in captivity

Action Link
Bird Conservation

Clean birds following oil spills

Action Link
Bird Conservation
  1. Artificially incubate and hand-rear penguins in captivity

    A controlled and replicated study on Robben and Dassen Islands, South Africa (Barham et al. 2008), found that the survival to breeding age and breeding success of African penguins Spheniscus demersus during 2001-6 were similar for birds that were orphaned in the Treasure oil spill in 2000 and hand-reared, compared to birds that were not orphaned and hand-reared (1.6 chicks fledged/pair for 24 pairs with at least one hand-reared bird vs. 1.1 chicks fledged/pair for 227 pairs without hand-reared birds). The authors note that the sample size of hand-reared pairs was too small for statistical tests to determine significance.


  2. Clean birds following oil spills

    A small study in South Africa (Barham et al. 2008) examined the survival and reproduction of hand-reared African penguins Spheniscus demersus orphaned after the Treasure oil spill in 2000. This is discussed in ‘Artificially incubate and hand-rear birds in captivity’.


Output references

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