Sad News – Cape St Francis SANCCOB Closing

The following press release was received regarding the closure of the Cape ST Francis facility. Apart from the wonderful that SANCCOB does the centre has also proved a huge tourist attraction. So Sad!


The Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB) Board of Directors has made a difficult but necessary decision to close the SANCCOB Cape St Francis (CSF) Centre and operate from SANCCOB’s Port Elizabeth (PE) Centre only, in the Eastern Cape. It is with sadness that we share this news and it was certainly not an easy conclusion to reach since the Cape St Francis and Jeffrey’s Bay communities have participated in penguin rehabilitation for the past 30 years.

It is in the best interest of the seabirds that SANCCOB operates from one state-of-the-art facility in the area, rather than sharing resources that are challenging to secure as an organisation that is completely reliant on donor funding.

As you all know, SANCCOB acquired the South African Marine Rehabilitation and Education Centre (SAMREC) facility in April 2017 when the trustees handed over their operations and facilities. It is truly a privilege and an incredible opportunity to have been entrusted with this facility, now known as SANCCOB PE. The facility is situated close to multiple seabird colonies, including the largest African penguin and Cape gannet colonies on St Croix and Bird islands, respectively, and is therefore ideally placed to effectively carry out SANCCOB’s mandate in Southern Africa. The existing infrastructure and size is also better suited to facilitate our specialised veterinary and seabird rehabilitation care. All SANCCOB CSF’s birds – permanent and wild seabirds in rehabilitation – will be transferred to SANCCOB PE. We estimate a three to six month period ahead before the Cape St Francis centre is completely vacated and our Port Elizabeth centre will field all seabird emergency calls, contactable on 041 583 1830 and after hours on 082 890 0207.

We are deeply mindful of the dedication of SANCCOB CSF’s stalwart volunteers, who have committed their unconditional support in respect of hours of hard work and championing of our cause to uphold SANCCOB’s legacy. SANCCOB CSF has been a second home to some of its volunteers having been involved in seabird rescue and rehabilitation for many years. While SANCCOB will no longer operate in the immediate vicinity of local volunteers, there will always remain a need for First Responders along this pristine part of the coastline. First Responders play an integral role as being the first call-out to respond to seabirds in distress and then provide critical care until the birds are admitted to SANCCOB. We invite members of the surrounding communities to join us as First Responders.

It is inevitable that there will be a transition phase at SANCCOB CSF before it is completely vacated. The Cape St Francis facility will eventually be handed back to Transnet once the centre has been cleared.

We commend the staff, volunteers, First Responders and community members, who have worked tirelessly and supported SANCCOB in many ways over the years. As we continue our conservation efforts going forward, we will remain in awe of the sheer devotion of those in the surrounds of the Cape St Francis facility, who have raised funds for SANCCOB, rescued, washed, rehabilitated, fed and saved seabirds. We look forward to your continued support.

SANCCOB is a non-profit organisation (Non Profit Company, Registration No. 2001/026273/08, Non-profit Number: 003-134 NPO).