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Wed October 8, 2008- Brazil- Animal-welfare activists loaded 373 young Magellanic penguins onto a Brazilian C-130 Hercules 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. They were rescued, rehabilitated and released last weekend after their search for food left them stranded, hundreds of miles from their usual feeding grounds. Healthy Magellanic penguins grow to about 27 inches tall and weigh about 9 pounds.
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.
Magellanic penguins are warm-weather birds that breed in large colonies in southern Argentina and Chile. The young animals then migrate north between March and September, following their favorite fish, the anchovy. The birds are named after Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan, who first saw them in 1519.
On Friday, the penguins were loaded into special crates and put onto the plane for the journey to Pelotas, in southern Brazil. After their first-ever flight, the birds went on a truck ride to the Center for Recovery of Marine Animals, where they rested for 24 hours.The birds released at Cassino Beach the next day. Some penguins are still being cared for, both in the north and south of Brazil. The newly released birds have bands on their flippers so scientists can follow their progress and learn more about their migratory habits. Of more than 1,600 penguins that washed ashore in northern Brazil, about half are still alive.
Some experts have said that penguin migration is closely linked to their need for food, and that the unusual journey the penguins are making suggests something has gone wrong with their normal fish supply. Experts say it is not clear whether this is due to changes in water temperatures and ocean currents which apparently confused the juvenile birds, who strayed too far north to the warm beaches of Salvador, Brazil, 870 miles north of Sao Paulo, Brazil. Possibility is also pointed at man-made pollution.
Dr. Valeria Ruoppolo of the International Fund for Animal Welfare, the group that oversaw the rescue are overjoyed to see these penguins waddle back to the ocean and have a second chance at life. VIA
"A penny for your thoughts"
Friday, October 10, 2008
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