When penguins washed up on her doorstep, she turned her home into their sanctuary

When penguins washed up on her doorstep, she turned her home into their sanctuary

World Ocean Day – Carol is the founder of the Seabird and Penguin Rehabilitation Centre in Mossel Bay. She has an indescribable love for penguins and focuses her energy on conservation.

Beautiful News

Like any mother, Carol Walton will do whatever it takes to protect her children. When they’re injured, she mends their broken beaks. Hungry? She’s already prepared buckets of fresh sardines. Of course, Walton is no ordinary mom. Her waddle of children are, in fact, African penguins. By opening her home and heart to these peculiar birds, Walton is fostering hope for their future.

On the Southern Coast of Africa, the African penguin’s mule-like bray grows fainter. Their population once in the millions, they were frequently sighted preening one another or brooding a clutch of eggs on the beaches. But in the past century, their numbers have declined by 95%. Overfishing, climate change, and ocean pollution are the main culprits of their demise.

After studying conservation, Walton made it her life’s mission to save these seabirds from extinction. When she moved to the harbour town of Mossel Bay, her passion for protecting the animals didn’t go unnoticed. “I became known as the ‘Penguin Lady’,” Walton says. “Suddenly everyone was bringing me sick and injured penguins.” As more birds washed up on her doorstep, she turned her garage into a make-shift sanctuary. Soon enough, her kids needed a place of their own to spread their wings, and so Walton founded The Seabird and Penguin Rehabilitation Centre in 2005. 

Since then, Walton and her dedicated team of volunteers have rescued and rehabilitated over 600 African penguins. “We need to save every single individual,” she says. Several have sustained injuries too severe to be released back into the wild, and now enjoy a perpetual flow of fish and affection as the centre’s permanent residents. Although the open ocean is fraught with danger, Walton is determined to keep returning these penguins to their natural habitat. Watching her children leave the nest, her heart soars with pride. “I can’t think of anything I’d rather do,” Walton says.

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She’s saving her children from extinction.

Posted by Beautiful News on Monday, June 8, 2020

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