The Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds facility near Cape Town, South Africa, receives ∼900 African Penguins (Spheniscus demersus) for rehabilitation every year. Data were analyzed from 3,657 adult African Penguins over a 12-yr period (2002–13), and multivariate logistic regression analysis was used to evaluate whether individual history and clinical parameters upon admission could predict the outcome of rehabilitation. Penguins admitted due to molt or debilitation were more likely to die during rehabilitation than those admitted due to oiling. Individuals admitted during summer and spring were more likely to die during rehabilitation than those admitted during winter. Penguins diagnosed with Plasmodium infection at some point during rehabilitation were more likely to die than those that were consistently negative, and no significant effect was found for other blood parasite infections. Penguins admitted with low body mass, low total plasma protein, or low hematocrit were more likely to die during rehabilitation than those with normal values. With regard to euthanasia, penguins admitted due to molt, debilitation, injury, or other causes and those admitted during spring or with low plasma protein were more likely to be euthanized.
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Vol. 54 • No. 1