I popped down to SAMREC in the Cape Recife Nature Reserve the other day to have a look at their new facilities. The South African Marine Rehabilitation Centre, SAMREC, has built a rehabilitation centre at Cape Recife to care for the sick and injured Marine Life of Algoa Bay and neighbouring coast line. Although they will specialise in marine birds, they will also rescue and look after mammals if it is required of them (and obviously if their facilities allow it). Its been a couple of years that this has been in the pipeline, but there has been lots of red tape for them to get through before getting to this point.
Visitors to the centre doesn't only come and look, you actually get taken through the whole process of how to care for oiled seabirds, specially penguins. Here some of the people who were there at the same time of me are washing dirty car oil off feathers to see which soap gets the feathers the cleanest fastest.
Port Elizabeth tourist guide, Mike Callahan, is holding a penguin (a dummy, not a real one) while another visitor is feeding it. Penguins bite, so you get taught exactly how to hold the bird for the process.
The centre has just opened and it already has its first visitor. Hope was found out in Algoa Bay covered in oil and was brought to the centre before it was even open. The day I visited Hope dived under water in her pool for the first time and the staff was just about out of their skins with excitement.
On returning to the building visitors can plop down on their knees, push their bum up in the air and peep through the front door of the mouse house. The mouse house is in recognition of the field mice who possibly may have had to give up their homes for the centre to be built.
I wish Libby and her team at SAMREC all the best in their work. May the public as well as the businesses of Port Elizabeth give you their full support.