Oil spills not only hurt the environment, but they also affect many animals living in the water. When an oil spill occurred last month off the coast of South Africa, many animals, including penguins, were significantly affected.
Authorities are investigating the source of the spill, but in the meantime, the 92 penguins are finally getting the help they need to survive this oil spill. The oil drenched them, leaving 90% of their bodies covered in oil.
The oil breaks down the natural waterproofing of their feathers, which makes it impossible for them to regulate their body temperature; this can become fatal and lead to hypothermia. The oil could also irritate their skin and eyes, and if any is ingested, it could lead to ulcers or organ failure.
When the penguins were taken in at Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB), a seabird rescue center in Cape St. France, South Africa, they were dehydrated, malnourished, and extremely weak.
Rescuers at the center worked day and night to give them baths that saved their lives. The baths took as long as two hours per penguin, but after seeing how clean the penguins are now, it was definitely worth it!
Although they are clean, they still have a long recovery ahead of them. They are still suffering the effects of the dehydration and malnourishment and need to regain the natural waterproofing of their feathers before they’ll be able to be released back into the wild.
The penguins are receiving the best possible round the clock care, and are improving every day. To celebrate bathing all 92 penguins, the center recorded the bath of the 92nd one. Watch him get squeaky clean in the video below!