Monday, October 6, 2008

Update on the Transport of Brazilian Refugees

Also----- an update from The Slate @

(Thank you Krissa and Kim for thinking of me and our Magellanic friends!!)

How exactly do you get that many penguins on a plane?

You put them in crates, 23 birds to a box. On Friday, the Brazilian government's environmental authority loaded 399 Magellanic penguins onto a C-130 Hercules transport plane on loan from the Air Force. The penguins left from a marine-life treatment center in Salvador, in the northern state of Bahia, where most of them had been living for the past two months. (Some 70 birds joined them from a treatment center in Vitoria; they were transported in the cargo hold of a commercial flight.) Before boarding the military plane, the penguins were fed, watered, given antifungal medication, and tagged with bands for future identification. Then they were flown down to another rehabilitation center in the southern city of Pelotas. Accompanying them on the 5.5 hour flight were a handful of military personnel and approximately 10 veterinarians and biologists from various environmental organizations.

On Saturday, after an overnight stay in the Pelotas center—where they were fed and watered once again—the penguins were placed back in the crates, lifted onto large trucks, and driven down to the beach, where a movable pen had been set up. Most of the penguins were then transferred into the pen and herded into the sea. (A few dozen were kept back due to medical concerns, though all the birds survived the flight.)

This weekend's flight was the largest penguin airlift in Brazilian history, but the largest penguin airlift ever took place in 2000, when 10,000 to 15,000 birds were transported to clean water after a massive oil spill near Cape Town, South Africa.

My comment: Doesn't this just bring tears to the eyes?

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