Making history: 372 Penguins released in Brazil
Thanks to the combined efforts of NGOs and the Brazilian government, 372 rehabilitated juvenile Magellanic penguins this week were airlifted and the released back to the wild in southern Brazil. This was a history making release: It’s the largest group of these penguins to ever be released in this country at one time.
An IFAW ER Team, along with colleagues from Center for the Recovery of Marine Animals (CRAM), Institute for Aquatic Mammals (IMA) and the environmental authority in Brazil, IBAMA, released 372 Magellanic penguins yesterday, making history as the largest group of these penguins to ever be released in Brazil at one time. All of the birds were banded with Federal bands and the Federal Banding authority, CEMAVE, came to work with the ER Team and others to learn about banding penguins. There are still 40 birds finishing their rehabilitation that will be released in the coming days.
The stranding of the penguins, because of poor food stocks, left them in extremely poor body condition. According to penguin researcher, Dr. Dee Boersma, there is a flow of warmer water (1° C higher than normal) which has caused the juvenile penguins to keep going north, past their usual range, where they are unable to find adequate food. There is always a high mortality rate for first year birds but this increased northerly range and lack of available food had increased the normal mortality rate for this group of penguins.
This effort is part of The Penguin Network which partner in South America with local organizations and is co-managed by IBRRC and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW).