Rehabilitated Penguins To Go Home in 3-4 Weeks!

Uy4blogIFAW responder Dr. Rodolfo Silva is currently in Maldonado, Uruguay assisting the SOCOBIOMA (Society for the Conservation of Biodiversity in Maldonado) with the rehabilitation of 34 oiled Magellanic Penguins.

After arriving on July 13, long time team member for oil spills, Dr. Rodolfo Silva immediately put all available hands into action. His first task to complete: the intake exam of all the oiled birds. This initial evaluation involves a careful and thorough analysis of each penguin’s physical condition. Drawing blood, weighing, tagging, taking feather samples, monitoring respiratory problems, are just a few of the many steps that are taken to stabilize the penguins.

Aside from the meticulous examination of these animals, Rodolfo has a few other vital assignments in his pressing agenda. One is fish. These penguins have washed ashore in an emaciated state and Rodolfo needs to get his hands on 150 kg (330 lbs) of fish for them, not your everyday trip to the supermarket. His other concern, building the entire rehab structure that can both house and allow for the birds to pass from the feeding stations to the pools to the heating lamps, so on and so forth.

Uy7blogWith time pressing, Rodolfo is able to purchase the large amounts of fish thanks to a long-time friend of his who has a friend with a vendor in Maldonado. Following his good fortune, the team is able to complete the structural needs in no time and starts training local staff and volunteers in the intricate ‘art’ of penguin rehab. `Sometimes the most trivial of things can make a difference, like the appropriate gear to wear. It is cold and rainy out here, on top of that if a volunteer goes home with all his clothes soiled and smelly after force-feeding the penguins, he may not come back the next day, so it’s very important to provide them with the right impermeable wear’.

In less than a week, the IFAW/SOCOBIOMA team is now already washing the birds and the operation is running smoothly. The rehabilitated penguins should be able to head back home in 3 or 4 weeks.

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