Every Bird Matters
news and views from international bird rescue

Posts Tagged ‘Penguin Network’

October 13, 2008

Video report on release of 373 penguins in Brazil

If you never witnessed the remarkable and heartwarming release of rehabilitated penguins, check out this video from CNN:


The Magellanic Penguins were flown on a Brazilian military C-130 Hercules transport plane. In all, 373 young penguins were rescued, rehabilitated and released last weekend after their search for food left them stranded, hundreds of miles from their usual feeding grounds.

Animal-welfare activists loaded the birds onto a Brazilian air force cargo plane and flew them 1,550 miles to the country’s southern coast, where a crowd of onlookers celebrated as the penguins marched back into the sea.

“We are overjoyed to see these penguins waddle back to the ocean and have a second chance at life,” said veterinarian Dr. Valeria Ruoppolo of the International Fund for Animal Welfare, the group that oversaw the rescue.

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 the penguins in early October, 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.

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).

Read the full story on CNN.Com

October 1, 2008

300 penguins to be released this week in Brazil

This week more than 300 juvenile Magellanic Penguins, stranded because of inadequate food stocks, will be loaded onto a military plane and airlifted to Southern Brazil for their release back to the wild.

You can watch a video (above) of one of the project leaders, Valeria Ruoppolo, explain the process of selecting penguins that are eligible for release.

The mass stranding of the penguins 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.

To date, there have been almost 850 penguins collected, nearly all juveniles. The birds are coming into care in extremely poor body condition and many have died. The Brazilian Government, as well as the local NGO’s caring for the birds, asked IFAW for assistance in caring for them and two ER team members were on-site during the first weeks of this response. Many of the penguins are now ready for release and IFAW has been asked to help oversee the release evaluation, banding and transport of these animals as they prepare for release back to the wild.

This effort is part of the Penguin Network member organizations which is a partnership co-managed by IBRRC and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW).

We also want to acknowledge the wonderful people from the Institute for Aquatic Mammals (IMA), who are doing a fabulous job and are extremely well organized.

September 3, 2008

Deadly spill in Brazil: 260 penguins in care

A new oil spill along the coast of Brazil has claimed the lives of hundreds of penguins. All seem to be victims of a spill from an unidentified source. Most of the penguins found dead were in the southern Brazilian state of Santa Catarina. (Photos: CRAM/Rodolfo P. Silva)

At least 260 live penguins are now in care. The Center for the Recovery of Marine Animals (CRAM), one of the Penguin Network member organizations which is a partnership co-managed by IBRRC and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), is deploying personnel and responding with local organizations to help with oiled birds. The key institutions involved are CRAM (MO FURG); Associacao R3 Animal; CETAS-IBAMA and the local Environmental Police (Policia Militar Ambiental). This response is supported by the Petrobras’ mobile units for oiled wildlife response, through their Center for Environmental Defense (CDA – Itajaí).

The responsible for the oil leak has not been found and the exact location of the spill had not been located, although it is believed to be offshore Santa Catarina.

When birds come in contact with oil, their feathers lose their ability to keep bird warm and dry. They spend more time trying to clean their feathers, ingest oil, lose strength and many will freeze to death without human intervention.

In the winter of the southern hemisphere, thousands of Magellanic penguins travel as far as Brazil. They travel north through cold ocean currents as they search for food.


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August 6, 2008

850+ Penguins stranded and hungry in Brazil

You may have seen the recent articles about the juvenile Magellanic Penguins showing up on Brazilian beaches malnourished and dying. IBRRC is working with the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW)to manage IFAW’s Penguin Network to ensure excellent care of oiled and sick penguins in South America.

To date, there have been more than 850 penguins collected, almost all juveniles. The birds are coming into care in extremely poor body condition and many have died.

There are two groups in this part of Brazil that normally work with marine mammals who have started taking these stranded penguins into care with the hope of rehabilitation and release.

•In Salvador – Bahia, NE Brazil, Instituto Mamíferos Aquáticos (IMA) has received 500+ live juvenile penguins so far. Only 2 were adults. As of 6 August 06 ≈ 300 are alive.

•In Vitória – Espírito Santo, Southeastern Brazil, Instituto Orca has received some 250+ penguins and it is believed that there are around 90 still alive.

According to penguin researcher, Dr. Dee Boersma, there is a flow of warmer water (1C 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 northernly range and lack of available food had increased the normal mortality rate for this group of penguins. Almost all of the penguins being found on beaches in the north of Brazil have been juveniles and since they are starving, they come into care in an extremely debilitated state.

The local groups working with penguins have utilized area pools to swim the penguins and monitor blood values of the birds. They also are using penguin feeding protocols developed by the IFAW/IBRRC team.

Also see: Penguins as Marine Sentinels by Dee Boersma