In northern Brazil, 1600 Magellanic penguins were found wandering around in an emaciated state. Usually, Magellanic penguins breed in Argentina and Chile, and the juveniles migrate north between March and September in pursuit of anchovy. However, these penguins ventured hundreds of miles north of their intended feeding grounds, leaving many in a weakened physical state. While it is normal for a few penguins to stray off track every year, the overwhelming influx of penguins this year raised enough concern that the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and other wildlife rescue groups decided to intervene.
After rehabilitating the emaciated birds, rescue workers loaded 373 healthy penguins into crates and transported them to Pelotas, in southern Brazil, via a C-130 Hercules military plane. The juvenile penguins were then released at Cassino Beach along with a small group of adult penguins who had been rescued from an oil spill. It is expected that the adults will help guide the younger birds back to the feeding grounds.
According to Dr. Valeria Ruoppolo of the IFAW, “We are overjoyed to see these penguins waddle back to the ocean and have a second chance at life.”
For more information, see CNN.com: Flight of the penguins