More Penguins Released To Join Original Colonies
Over the past couple days IFAW has been coordinating the release of rehabilitated penguins in Argentina following weeks of rehabilitation and intensive care.
"It has been very emotional for volunteers and all other groups involved. There are about 190 penguins left so we are beginning to see the end", said Jay Holcomb IFAW Responder and Executive Director of IBRRC. This is the long awaited end to many hectic days spent effortlessly caring for these animals so that they could receive a second chance at life. However, nothing is more rewarding than to see these penguins touch native soil and water for the first time after coming such a long way through rehabilitation.
Now that nearly all birds except the penguins (cormorants, grebes and ducks) have been released, attention has strongly focused on getting the remaining penguins out the door. "All penguins have been put on a very aggressive swimming schedule that will help them become waterproof", says Jay. We use the terms "go grade" to describe the process of checking for waterproofing. Animal care personnel at the Center go grade daily. Most penguins have passed, however about 20 penguins have been set aside for re-checks.
In total there have been 2 penguin releases in the past couple days. Both have taken place in Rada Tilly which is an ideal shore location just south of the Center. Below is a video from the first release and coming soon is a video from the second release - thanks Rodolfo for taking the video for us! There are several great images from these releases as well, so I've compiled them all into a slide show. (Keep an eye out for Chema - our penguin wrangler!)
There is no way to predict in what direction these penguins will continue on in their journey or if they will travel together to find other penguin colonies. Right now there are many penguin colonies to the north and south of the release site. However if they do venture back to their original colonies they will probably "start molting before migrating north towards Brazil, " says Valeria Ruoppolo, IFAW veterinarian and on-site coordinator.
Here is a slide show of photos taken from the recent releases: