The birds that fly under water. The African Penguin has a donkey like bray, the reason it is also known as the Jackass penguin. With population numbers declining from roughly 4 million birds at the beginning of the last century to only 55 thousand today, the African Penguin has been listed as endangered in the red data book. In June of 2000 the sinking of the bulk ore carrier M.V. Treasure between Robben Island and Dassen Island released 1300 tons of fuel oil into the breeding colonies affecting more than
19 thousand breeding adults.
The birds were removed to an old train repair warehouse in Cape Town to be cared for. 19500 un-oiled birds were removed from Dassen island and released 800 km east of Cape Town. This would give workers time to clean up the beaches and ocean before the birds were able to swim back. They started arriving 7 days later, the last arriving less than 21 days after being released. These birds really do fly under water. Volunteers arrived in their tens of thousands to help with the care of the birds and the clean up. The task took a bit over three months to complete with the result that more than 91% of the birds were successfully rehabilitated, making it the largest animal rescue event in history.
If the current population decline, caused by commercial fisheries, oil spills and global warming continues, the African Penguin will be extinct within 15 years. Every effort is being made to prevent this.