Bay bird-lover’s dedication rewarded

Kathryn Kimberley

A PORT Elizabeth man with a love for penguins has been honoured by the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (Wessa) for his conservation work over the past three years.

The environmental education manager at the South African Marine Rehabilitation and Education Centre (Samrec) Eddy Molekoa, said he was humbled to receive the award on behalf of his non-profit organisation.

The award recognises Samrec’s work in saving the endangered African penguin.

Samrec, situated in the Cape Recife Nature Reserve in the city, was among a select group of organisations to be acknowledged for their contribution to the environment, conservation and education sectors.

Molekoa attended the swanky awards ceremony in Centurion last week.

Samrec has also been identified to receive donations from sponsors such as Coca-Cola. Wessa is one of South Africa’s oldest and largest non-government environmental agencies, and maintains a watchful eye on the environment.

Molekoa was also honoured for his work in educating Nelson Mandela Bay pupils on how to look after the environment.

He has been working for Samrec for the past three years and still boasts about having the best job in the world. Not only is the animal-lover responsible for maintenance at the centre, he also fetches stranded penguins from islands nearby, helps rehabilitate them and set them free.

The Wessa award is the highest accolade to date for Molekoa and his team. “The ceremony was amazing and it was a huge honour to receive the award on behalf of my team. I am humbled by the recognition. I am blessed to do what I love every day and then still get recognised for it. I do it for the penguins.”

Molekoa and the Samrec team had recently released 10 African penguin chicks off Bird Island outside Port Elizabeth after a two-month rehabilitation programme.

The chicks were rescued in July as they were in danger of drowning due to recent thunderstorms.

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