October 8, 2008

Largest ever Magellanic penguin rescue!

by winecountrydog

A big parade of penguins marched back into the sea on October 4, 2008. This was a gigantic rescue effort by the International Federation of Animal Welfare (IFAW) Emergency Response Team.

The IFAW humans were assisted by colleagues from the Center for the Recovery of Marine Animals (CRAM), the Instituto Mamíferos Aquáticos (Institute for Aquatic Mammals, or IMA), and IBAMA, the environmental authority in Brazil.

Prior to their release, worried IFAW bloggers wrote the following blog (4 October). This is the kind of thing that makes me howl and put my paws together in a desperate plea for animal protection.
Every day that passes with these penguins in captivity is a huge disappointment at this point; we know the grave consequences that captivity has on wildlife. You see, penguins are sea creatures; they spend the great majority of their lives swimming and feeding at sea and consequently suffer after long periods of time ashore. They not only look awkward and innocent as they waddle from one place to the other but sure enough, land-locked life takes a physical toll on penguins, namely on their feet which quickly grow blisters, swell up and easily get infected.
There were 372 stranded Magellanic penguins who got to go home. Woof! Paws up! They made history as the largest group of Magellanic penguins ever to be released at one time in Brazil.

After their long journey from northern Brazil, where they'd been stranded, the penguins said hasta la huego at the world's longest beach: the beautiful 152-milelong (245-Km) Praia do Cassino (Cassino Beach) in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, on the southernmost coast of Brazil.

See our bird friends finding their way home in this video by IFAW's Michael Booth.

You can learn about how the penguins ended up needing rescue by going to the IFAW website and to their Animal Rescue blog.

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