Penguins released back to wild after oil spill in Argentina

Monday, July 31, 2006
San Clemente del Tuyu, Argentina
IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare – www.ifaw.org), in cooperation with Fundación Mundo Marino and Consejo Agrario Provincial (CAP) de Santa Cruz, today returned dozens of rehabilitated penguins back to the wild. The penguins were nursed back to health following an oil spill in Southern Argentina. The source of the oil spill is still unknown.
In early May, several hundred oiled Magellanic penguins began washing ashore in the Cabo Virgenes Nature Reserve in Argentina, about 1,700 miles (2,750 kilometers) southwest of Buenos Aires near the southernmost tip of Patagonia. A team from IFAW worked closely with Consejo Agrario Provincial de Santa Cruz to take in and clean 224 of the oiled penguins. Due to very cold weather and low water temperatures, the birds had difficulty regaining their natural waterproofing. In response, the government of Santa Cruz Province and the Argentine Air Force (Fuerza Aerea Argentina) flew the penguins to warmer weather in San Clemente del Tuyú, where Fundacion Mundo Marino’s permanent rehabilitation facilities are located. There, teams from IFAW, Fundación Mundo Marino and CAP helped the birds finish their recovery. Today a large group of these Magellanic penguins were returned to the wild. Eventually all the rehabilitated birds will be released.

"Our mission is to rescue animals affected by environmental emergencies as soon as possible, so that we can rehabilitate and release them back to the wild. To achieve that, IFAW has an international emergency relief team capable to react worldwide", said Beatriz Bugeda, IFAW Director for Latin America.

“These penguins have been through a dangerous ordeal and it is satisfying to see it come to a happy end,” said Valeria Ruoppolo of IFAW, who helped direct the rehabilitation effort. “The excellent cooperation between IFAW, Fundación Mundo Marino, Fundación Patagonia Natural and the government of Argentina are what helped these beautiful penguins recover.”

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