Celebrating Darwin’s Birthday

OrangutanTo celebrate the 200th birthday of Charles Darwin, a philanthropist in the UK has promised to double any donations made to six different wildlife charities on charity website, www.theBigGive.org.uk.

This means that anyone giving £5 or over will have the same amount donated to their chosen charity on their behalf. Donation doubling will start at 10am on Monday, February 23rd and will finish when £50,000 has been spent.

The chosen charities are Project African Wilderness (PAW), The Born Free Foundation, Orangutan Foundation, People’s Trust for Endangered Species, Wilderness Foundation UK and The Gorilla Organization.

These projects care for and protect a huge range of wildlife and wild spaces, including polar bears, elephants, tigers, lions, rhinos, dolphins and turtles.

Anyone wishing to double their donation or find our more about the chosen charities is advised to visit www.theBigGive.org.uk at 10.00am on Monday, February 23rd.

Harbor Seal Makes Trek to Trout Hatchery; Has Feast

Harbor seal in Cape Cod

A young harbor seal was discovered in a state fish hatchery in the town of Sandwich in Cape Cod.  There she had her pick of delicious trout to eat.  Her all-you-can eat buffet came to an end, however, when the Cape Cod Stranding Network captured the seal, tagged her, and released her back into the Atlantic in West Dennis.

What is interesting is the tremendous journey this seal had to make to reach the hatchery.  According to Misty Niemeyer of the Cape Cod Stranding Network, the seal would have had to waddle on land for 2 miles, including stretches on the boardwalk and through a tunnel under Route 6A.

For more information, see Boston.com’s article: “Hungry Seal Hits Bonanza at Fish Hatchery”

Stranded Pilot Whale Rescue a Success

Pilot whale rescue in Tasmania, Australia

Over the weekend, 64 pilot whales were stranded on the northern coast of Tasmania.  In general, it is rare to save any whales in a mass stranding such as this one, however, rescuers were able to release 11 of the whales back into the water.

Rescuers aren’t certain why the pilot whales got stranded, but scientist Rosemary Gales offered this theory:

“At Godfrey’s Beach where we are, it is very shallow and sloping. It has an extraordinary tide span and so the whales one minute can be in quite deep water and as soon as the tide changes, they get caught out and they are stranded essentially on sand bars and very shallow sloping beach.”

The scientists attached satellites to the ones who were released and have determined that the whales have regrouped into a small pod, thereby making the rescue a success.

For more info:
The Telegraph – “Australian rescuers save some of the stranded pilot whales”
The World Today – “Scientists monitor whales after beaching”

Saving Penguins

Penguins waddle back into the ocean

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.

Penguins swimming in the ocean

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