TED Talk: How Over 40,000 Penguins Were Rescued From An Oil Spill

african penguin photo
Photo by Paul Mannix via Flickr CC

Dyan deNapoli feels very strongly that when an oil spill occurs, oiled animals should be cleaned and released. Every animal, she states, should have a second chance at life. Her reasons for feeling strongly about the issue are founded in experience. In a recent TED talk, deNapoli describes how in June of 2000, the oil tanker Treasure sank off the cost of South Africa, during the best breeding season on record thus far for the then-threatened (now endangered) African Penguin. The effort to save oiled penguins became the largest animal rescue effort ever recorded. Read on to watch the video and hear this amazing story.







It is incredible to see thousands of people volunteering to clean and rehabilitate so many oiled penguins. Not only that, but saving tens of thousands of penguins that would have been covered in oil had they not been rounded up and temporarily relocated.

Only 160 penguins died during the transport process, rather than the 5,000 that died six years earlier during a rescue effort after another oil spill. And 90% of the 20,000 oiled birds survived -- far more than the 1% survival rate estimated by others. Learning from past mistakes is a huge part of running effective rescue efforts in the future. Perhaps one day we'll learn enough from past mistakes with oil to finally move away from it to energy sources that are safer for plants and animals. In the mean time, may we be ever better equipped to deal with rescue efforts so that fewer animals need to die due to spills.

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Tags: Animals | Birds | Pollution

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