It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Faraday, one of the original African penguins at the Two Oceans Aquarium.
Faraday was one of the first African penguins to arrive at the Aquarium. Together with Belinda, Chuck, George and Dorris, Faraday became one of the first birds to be on display at was then Cape Town's newest and most exotic attraction in November 1995, arriving here when we received them from World of Birds. This group of penguins were all born into captive care, making them ineligible for release into the wild.
Faraday was easily recognisable by the two spots on his neck, just above his chest stripe.
Faraday was one of the grandparents of the Aquarium's African penguin beach. With his mate Dorris, Faraday has two sons - Tasmyn, who hatched on 1 September 1998, and Peri, who hatched on 18 February 2014. Tasmyn, has since gone to sire his own youngsters, Luna and Makena, making Faraday and Dorris proud grandparents in 2014.
Back in 1995, no studbooks for captive African penguins existed, so we do not know how old Faraday was when he joined us. Faraday already had his adult plumage when he arrived at the Two Oceans Aquarium and was therefore at least 2 at the time, and was likely approaching 30 years of age at the time of his passing. This is far older than African penguins reach in the wild, usually 10 to 15 years, and at this old age, special care needs to be taken to ensure the animals' wellbeing.
In early September, the Two Oceans Aquarium's husbandry team noticed that Faraday was not eating and was becoming lethargic. The decision was made to take Faraday to SANCCOB where he could receive treatment in their seabird intensive care unit and be continuously monitored by their veterinary staff. Faraday's health did not significantly improve while at SANCCOB, and he was placed in long term care with them. His mate Dorris was also brought to SANCCOB from the Aquarium so that the birds could remain in each others' company.
Unfortunately, despite the combined effort and care of the both the Two Oceans Aquarium and SANCCOB's veterinarians, Faraday's condition continued to deteriorate, and blood tests would confirm that he had kidney failure, a condition that is not reversible in penguins, and which would permanently diminish his quality of life. The difficult, but ethical decision was made to euthanise Faraday on 1 October.*
This brought a peaceful end of life to an animal that we have spent 25 years loving, and who has given us 25 years as a wonderful animal ambassador.
*It's our policy to hold off on announcing the passing of high-profile Aquarium animals until a postmortem study has been performed and all the facts are available.
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