Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds SANCCOB

Cape Town, South Africa

Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds SANCCOB

Cape Town, South Africa
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Parsons N.J.,Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds SANCCOB | Gous T.A.,Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds SANCCOB | Cranfield M.R.,University of California at Davis | Cheng L.I.,U.S. National Institutes of Health | And 11 more authors.
Polar Biology | Year: 2017

The King Penguin (Aptenodytes patagonicus) is a pelagic seabird that breeds on Subantarctic islands and is considered a rare vagrant in South Africa. From 2001 to 2017, six King Penguins were rescued along the South African coast and admitted into rehabilitation centers. These and previous records of King Penguins were obtained near the country’s major ports, which suggests that some of these birds may have been ship-assisted. One of the King Penguins evaluated in this study died shortly after being admitted to the rehabilitation center due to extensive hemorrhage caused by a long-line fishing hook, and another had a beak wound consistent with fishing hook injury. Three King Penguins were infected with the tick-borne protozoan Babesia peircei and two died as a result of babesiosis. One King Penguin was diagnosed with an infection by Rickettsia-like organisms. Pox-like lesions, presumably mosquito-borne, developed on the eyelid skin of one penguin. Additionally, one of two King Penguins permanently captive in Cape Town during the same period also presented a lethal case of spirochetosis, which was possibly tick-borne. These novel records of vector-borne pathogens in King Penguins highlight the risk of seabird rehabilitation centers to serve as potential sources of pathogens to vagrant species, while also illustrating the opportunities that these centers provide for pathogen research and surveillance. © 2017 Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany


Parsons N.J.,Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds SANCCOB | Parsons N.J.,Bayworld Center for Research and Education | Voogt N.M.,Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds SANCCOB | Schaefer A.M.,Florida Atlantic University | And 4 more authors.
Veterinary Parasitology | Year: 2017

Blood parasites are generally uncommon in seabirds, and knowledge on their epidemiology is further limited by the fact that they often inhabit remote locations that are logistically difficult or expensive to study. We present a long term data set of blood smear examinations of 1909 seabirds belonging to 27 species that were admitted to a rehabilitation centre in Cape Town (Western Cape, South Africa) between 2001 and 2013. Blood parasites were detected in 59% of species (16/27) and 29% of individuals examined (551/1909). The following blood parasites were recorded: Babesia ugwidiensis, Babesia peircei, Babesia sp., Plasmodium sp., Leucocytozoon ugwidi, Hepatozoon albatrossi, Haemoproteus skuae and Spirochaetales. Several of the records are novel host-parasite associations, demonstrating the potential of rehabilitation centres for parasite and disease surveillance, particularly for species infrequently sampled from which no host-specific parasites have been described. © 2016 Elsevier B.V.


Parsons N.J.,Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds SANCCOB | Gous T.A.,PO Box 5371 | Van Wilpe E.,University of Pretoria | Strauss V.,Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds SANCCOB | Vanstreels R.E.T.,University of Sao Paulo
Diseases of Aquatic Organisms | Year: 2015

Rehabilitation is an important strategy for the conservation of the Endangered African penguin Spheniscus demersus, and disease has been raised as a concern in the management of the species, both in the wild and in rehabilitation centres. We report 8 cases of herpes - virus-like respiratory infection in African penguin chicks undergoing rehabilitation between 2010 and 2013 at a facility in Cape Town, South Africa. Infection was confirmed through the identification of viral inclusions in the tracheal epithelium and demonstration of particles consistent with herpesvirus by electron microscopy, whereas virus isolation in eggs, serology and PCR testing failed to detect the virus. Only penguin chicks were affected; they were in poor body condition, and in 2 cases infection occurred prior to admission to the rehabilitation centre. The role played by the herpesvirus-like infection in the overall respiratory disease syndrome is uncertain, due to identification of lesions in only a small proportion of the chicks as well as to the occurrence of other concurrent pathological processes. Further studies are advised to characterise the specific virus involved through the development of sensitive diagnostic methods and to clarify the epidemiology and significance of these infections in wild African penguins. © Inter-Research 2015.


PubMed | MP International Consultancy, Florida Atlantic University, Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds SANCCOB and Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University
Type: | Journal: Veterinary parasitology | Year: 2017

Blood parasites are generally uncommon in seabirds, and knowledge on their epidemiology is further limited by the fact that they often inhabit remote locations that are logistically difficult or expensive to study. We present a long term data set of blood smear examinations of 1909 seabirds belonging to 27 species that were admitted to a rehabilitation centre in Cape Town (Western Cape, South Africa) between 2001 and 2013. Blood parasites were detected in 59% of species (16/27) and 29% of individuals examined (551/1909). The following blood parasites were recorded: Babesia ugwidiensis, Babesia peircei, Babesia sp., Plasmodium sp., Leucocytozoon ugwidi, Hepatozoon albatrossi, Haemoproteus skuae and Spirochaetales. Several of the records are novel host-parasite associations, demonstrating the potential of rehabilitation centres for parasite and disease surveillance, particularly for species infrequently sampled from which no host-specific parasites have been described.


PubMed | Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds SANCCOB
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Journal of the South African Veterinary Association | Year: 2015

There are few publications on the clinical haematology and biochemistry of African penguins (Spheniscus demersus) and these are based on captive populations. Baseline haematology and serum biochemistry parameters were analysed from 108 blood samples from wild, adult African penguins. Samples were collected from the breeding range of the African penguin in South Africa and the results were compared between breeding region and sex. The haematological parameters that were measured were: haematocrit, haemoglobin, red cell count and white cell count. The biochemical parameters that were measured were: sodium, potassium, chloride, calcium, inorganic phosphate, creatinine, cholesterol, serum glucose, uric acid, bile acid, total serum protein, albumin, aspartate transaminase and creatine kinase. All samples were serologically negative for selected avian diseases and no blood parasites were detected. No haemolysis was present in any of the analysed samples. Male African penguins were larger and heavier than females, with higher haematocrit, haemoglobin and red cell count values, but lower calcium and phosphate values. African penguins in the Eastern Cape were heavier than those in the Western Cape, with lower white cell count and globulin values and a higher albumin/globulin ratio, possibly indicating that birds are in a poorer condition in the Western Cape. Results were also compared between multiple penguin species and with African penguins in captivity. These values for healthy, wild, adult penguins can be used for future health and disease assessments.


PubMed | Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds SANCCOB
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Diseases of aquatic organisms | Year: 2015

Rehabilitation is an important strategy for the conservation of the Endangered African penguin Spheniscus demersus, and disease has been raised as a concern in the management of the species, both in the wild and in rehabilitation centres. We report 8 cases of herpesvirus-like respiratory infection in African penguin chicks undergoing rehabilitation between 2010 and 2013 at a facility in Cape Town, South Africa. Infection was confirmed through the identification of viral inclusions in the tracheal epithelium and demonstration of particles consistent with herpesvirus by electron microscopy, whereas virus isolation in eggs, serology and PCR testing failed to detect the virus. Only penguin chicks were affected; they were in poor body condition, and in 2 cases infection occurred prior to admission to the rehabilitation centre. The role played by the herpesvirus-like infection in the overall respiratory disease syndrome is uncertain, due to identification of lesions in only a small proportion of the chicks as well as to the occurrence of other concurrent pathological processes. Further studies are advised to characterise the specific virus involved through the development of sensitive diagnostic methods and to clarify the epidemiology and significance of these infections in wild African penguins.

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