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The Great Penguin Rescue
Transcript of The Great Penguin Rescue
The Treasure Sinks
On June 23, 2000 a ship called the Treasure sank north of Robben Island and south of Dassen Island, both island on the west coast of Africa. Dassen and Robben island hold a combined total of about half the penguin population. All of the penguins had a big chance of encountering the toxic oil.
The Oil Spreads with affects
The oil first reached Robben Island and affected nearly 20,000 penguins. This toxic oil was stopping the bird from making there gawking noise to communicate. The oil covered their feathers so they couldn't swim. The toxic oil got into the bird's eyes burning them, making it almost impossible to see.
After the word got out about the oil spill thousands of volunteers offered to go to Robben island to get the oiled birds and bring them back to the warehouse. African penguins are very ferocious to human. With their sharp beaks and teeth they can easily rip through skin leaving a numerous amount of scratches and bite marks. The volunteers even after enduring these painful encounters still kept going.
After bringing the penguins back to the warehouse volunteers would have to wash the penguins. This was a two person job. One person had to hold the penguin while the other cleaned. The cleaner had to be gentle while cleaning the because of the birds delicate feathers. For the head the cleaner had to use a tooth brush to not injure the penguin. Even with the 1000 volunteers a day the, with the process taking an hour, it took the volunteers over a month to clean all the birds.
Time for release
After the 20,000 penguins where cleaned and healthy they sent the birds on multiple trucks with ventilated boxes to hold the penguins. The ventilated boxes where cardboard boxes with holes. The holes allowed to let the birds get oxygen. Each box could hold two Spheniscus demersus. That day at Betty's bay they released the penguins into the water where they could swim back to Robben Island.
Dassen Island attack
Shortly after the the recovery of the Robben island penguins the oil spill started heading north to Dassen island. The workers knew that they would not be able to gather all the penguins and do the same process because they didn't have enough materials. So one individual threw out a crazy idea, they would gather all the penguins on the island and release them 500 miles away and by the time they swam back home the oil would be gone.
The Volunteers were passionate and persistent because even after encountering all these bite and scratches they still got up every day and used their own time to go help a cause bigger than themselves.
The plan works ; the penguins are saved
Over the next week the volunteers went to Dassen island and got all the birds. They shipped them 500 miles south to port Elizabeth where the penguins swam home to a non-oiled island.
By: Cole Morris
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