A bunch of tiny little penguins were rescued from a horrible oil spill off the coast of New Zealand and were recently released back into the ocean. Here’s more from WWF, including a beautiful video of the release.
The first little blue penguins affected by the Rena oil spill were released back into the wild at Mount Maunganui on Tuesday, after several weeks of recovery and care by WWF staff and other members of New Zealand’s National Oiled Wildlife Recovery Team.
The container ship Rena grounded on Astrolabe Reef in New Zealand’s Bay of Plenty on October 5, 2011, spilling 350 tonnes of heavy fuel oil into the sea. Over two thousand dead seabirds have been found and hundreds of live oiled birds have been collected to be treated in special wildlife recovery centres, including little blue penguins, shags, fluttering shearwaters, petrels, gannets and terns.
An army of volunteers has cleaned the beaches and rocks and the National Oiled Wildlife Recovery Team made the decision to release 49 of the little blue penguins in their care this week.
WWF-New Zealand Marine Advocate Bob Zuur said: “Releasing the birds is a trade-off between risk of being re-oiled and the not inconsiderable risks of keeping the birds longer – for example disease, birds reducing condition, ongoing stress, social disruption and domestication. We believe the team at the National Oiled Wildlife Recovery Team made the right choice in releasing the first of the little blue penguins now, taking these factors into account. There is also a possibility of a second clutch this breeding season.”