An oil spill in South Africa has left a dozen penguins covered in oil. This oil spill has impacted the lives of so many of the penguins in a negative way, so rescuers quickly teamed up to help. You won’t believe the radical transformation that these penguins underwent!
20. Oil Spill
An oil spill in South Africa has negatively impacted the lives of so many animals! Oil spills are terrible for the environment and animals that live in the water often feel the worst of it.
19. The Penguins
Due to the oil spill, tons of penguins were horribly impacted by it. Around 92 penguins were covered in oil from the spill. The penguins were in need of serious help.
Many have been wondering what caused the oil spill and who was responsible for it. Investigations are currently underway and it seems that owners of a ship that were transferring oil may be responsible for the spill.
In the meantime, the penguins were drenched in oil and it was imperative for them to be cleaned up. The reason for this is because the oil has been steadily doing serious damage to the penguin’s bodies!
The oil that has been drenched on their bodies has begun to break down the waterproofing of the penguin’s feathers. Due to this, the penguins are unable to regulate their own body temperatures. This can lead to a variety of problems…
When the penguins are unable to regular their body temperatures, this could lead to hypothermia and could be fatal to them. Outside of this issue, the oil can also irritate their eyes and if swallowed, the oil could lead to organ failure.
14. Bad Situation
“Oil also causes skin and eye irritation,” the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB) wrote. “A natural reaction for penguins is to preen their feathers to remove the oil which can result in ingestion of oil, ultimately leading to ulcers, a reduced immune system and organ failure.”
13. Heavily Oiled
“Most of the penguins are heavily oiled, with some having as much as 90% of their bodies covered in oil,” SANCCOB wrote. Finally SANCCOB stepped in for the rescue of the penguins!
The penguins were finally rescued by the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB). They were then brought over to the seabird rescue center in Cape St. France, South Africa.
11. Bad Shape
When the penguins were brought over to the rescue center, they were in pretty bad shape. They were dehydrated, malnourished, and they were fighting for their lives. It was a devastating sight.
10. Saving Lives
So rescue workers got to work on helping out the penguins. Their main strategy was to wash off all of the oil from the penguin’s bodies. It took the workers all day and all night to wash off each individual penguin.
9. Two Hours
It took rescue workers two hours to clean off each individual penguin. This is because they had to make sure to get rid of the oil and the oil was pretty hard to clean in the first place!
8. Recovery Process
Finally, all 92 of the penguins had been cleaned off from the oil. However, they still have a long recovery process ahead of them. “Unfortunately, the journey isn’t over for these poor seabirds,” the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB) wrote.
7. Still Suffering
“Many of them are still suffering the effects of dehydration, malnourishment and need to regain the natural waterproofing of their feathers before they can be released back into the wild. Our team will now begin the next stage of oil spill response management – rehabilitating the oil-free seabirds.”
6. Lots of Care
For now, the penguins are receiving a ton of care. According to SANCCOB, the penguins are improving steadily day by day. Thanks to the rescuers the penguins have been removed from a terrible situation.
Ané Oosthuizen, marine co-ordinator at South African National Parks (SANParks), has noted that although many penguins were saved from the oil spill, this will still impact their habitat. This will also cause a lot of damage to the penguin population.
4. 55 Percent
“The reason why it is important for the penguin is because on St Croix we have 55 percent of the world’s African Penguin,” Oosthuizen said. “So should something happen, we will be in dire straits.”
3. More Birds
The organization is expecting to find more oil-covered penguins in the upcoming days.“We are expecting more birds but unfortunately, the weather is not allowing us onto the island,” said South African Marine Rehabilitation and Education Centre’s Thomas Morris. “So we just have to be patient and wait for the weather to subside so we can get out there.”
Still, everyone is so thankful to the rescuers that have managed to save the 92 penguins. It was thanks to their diligence that so many penguin’s lives were saved!
“We are grateful for all the support from our partners and the local community,” Juanita Raath, SANCCOB’s rehabilitation coordinator, said in the release. “The team of staff and volunteers are working round the clock to ensure that the birds get the best care possible.”