Cleaned of oil, Magellanic Penguins are released by the Penguin Network in South America. (Photo: Valeria Ruoppolo/IFAW)
hope for oiled penguins in South
America after the creation
of a team of experts to help study
the plight of these flightless seabirds.
Dubbed the IFAW Penguin Rehabilitation
and Research Network, the group’s
aim is to document the damage that
chronic oiling does to Magellanic
Penguins along the coasts of Brazil,
Uruguay and Argentina.
See: Penguin Network numbers from 2001-2008
Funded by the International
Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW)
and co-managed by the International
Bird Rescue Research Center (IBRRC),
the network strives to bring together
South America rehabilitation organizations
working with penguins and help them
to increase the number of rescued
animals, standardize rehabilitation
protocols, share information and
collect pertinent data.
Rodolfo P. da Silva Filho
DVM of CRAM washing an oiled Magellanic penguin.
New penguin tracking study
A team of scientists led by Dr. Dee Boersma of the University of Washington and assisted by the Penguin Network's Valeria Ruoppolo is now tagging penguins to study the migration pattern of these animals along the shore of South America.
Six adult male penguins from a group of oiled penguins at two coastal towns in Northern Argentina--San Clemente del Tuyú and Mar del Plata--were selected to carry satellite transmitters during their southern migration back to their breeding colonies. You can track these penguins and learn more about this project at this special migration website.
The Magellanic penguin
magellanicus) lives along the
Atlantic and Pacific coasts of South
America. The eastern population
breeds in large colonies in Argentina
and migrates north as far as Southwest
Brazil between March and September.
The western population ranges as
far north as Peru.
An oiled Rockhopper penguin.
Studies by Gandini and
collaborators (1994), show that
an estimated number of up to 20.000
adult penguins and 22.000 juveniles
die every year due to chronic oil
pollution along the coast of Argentina
alone, representing only a fourth
of the total range for the species.
The ultimate goal is
to understand the effects of oiling
on penguins and to mitigate these
effects through rehabilitation,
research, prevention, and publicity.
Additionally, the network is compiling
much needed data from this region
on the effects of chronic oiling.
oil spill response
Every year oiled penguins
show up on beaches along their migration
route. The majority of the birds
are left on remote areas, slowly
die and join the list of the many
forgotten victims of chronic oiling
in other sensitive areas such as
the eastern coast of Canada. Although
research on the effects of oil on
this population of penguins has
been published, it is primarily
in scientific journals and most
people do not know that this unnecessary
waste of life, solely created by
humans, is occurring.
and released Magellanic Penguins.
(Photo: FMM/Sergio R. Heredia)
A small number of oiled
penguins are rescued annually along their migration range
in Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil
and taken to 8 rehabilitation institutions.
Currently, between these 8 institutions
approximately 350 to 500 animals
are being rescued every year. These
organizations all have existing
rehabilitation programs and can
house up to 200 birds at a time
at each facility.
Network/South America map
2001, more oiled penguins showed
up than usual. IBRRC and IFAW joined
together, to support the IFAW Emergency
Response(ER) team, managed by Dr.
Valeria Ruoppolo, with 3 different
institutions in the north of Argentina
(Fundación Mundo Marino and
Fundación Aquarium) and Uruguay
(SOS- Rescate de Fauna Marina).
IFAW funded basic equipment and
assistance for the rehabilitation
of approximately 543 animals of
which 84% were released.
In June 2002, oiled
penguins again began to show up
on beaches of Brazil and Uruguay.
By late July “normal”
numbers of birds went up and CRAM
found themselves with a minimum
of 75 to 100 birds at any given
time. On August 5 the number was
111 live animals in house with 69
animals clean and outside. By August
15th the rehabilitation rate in
Brazil was 81% (90 of 111), when
the Team has gone to Uruguay to
work on another 135 oiled penguins.
The final result on this response
was a 93% release rate (126 of 135).
Between 2001 and 2004
the IFAW ER Team was directly involved
in rescuing and rehabilitating 1,090
penguins in Argentina, Uruguay,
Brazil and Chile. From those rescued,
85.1% of the penguins (928 of 1,090)
were rehabilitated by five different
More downloadable info:
Update: South America Penguin Network (PDF
EOW 2005 presentation Penguin Network (PDF
Current members of
the network from North to South:
At this time, there are eight organizations
that comprise the Penguin Network,
however, there are a number of other
organizations that will be contacted,
including beach survey groups in
an effort to increase the amount
of data that can be compiled through
the network. The following is a
list of current participants:
Rio de Janeiro State:
Contact: Dr. Salvatore Siciliano
Address: Rua Leopoldo Bulhões,
1480 – Manguinhos- Rio de
Janeiro, RJ – Brazil.
ZIP Code 21041-210
Phone: +55-21-2598 2525 int. 2546
/ Fax: 21-2290 0484
São Paulo State:
Municipal de Santos (rehabilitation
Address: R. Bartolomeu Gusmão,
s/n. Ponta da Praia, Santos, SP
de Ubatuba (AqUba) (rehabilitation
de Estudos do Mar (CEM), Universidade
Federal do Paraná
(rehabilitation center and beach
Rio Grande do Sul State:
de Recuperação de
Animais Marinhos (CRAM),
Museu Oceanográfico Prof.
Eliézer de C. Rios, Fundação
Universidade Federal do Rio Grande
(rehabilitation center and beach
de Fauna Marina (PROFAUMA) (rehabilitation
Mundo Marino (FMM) (rehabilitation
center and beach monitoring).
Aquarium (MDP Aq) (rehabilitation
For further information,
please contact: Valeria Ruoppolo