Oiled Penguins Go Free

| Tue Nov. 22, 2011 7:00 AM EST

Little blue penguin.: Credit: Noodle snacks via Wikimedia Commons.Little blue penguin Noodle snacks via Wikimedia Commons.

Forty-nine of 343 little blue penguins rescued from the oil spill off the New Zealand coast were released back into the ocean yesterday—with more to come in the next few weeks, says Maritime New Zealand.

At least 2,008 birds died.

When Rena grounded on October 5, it contained 1,712 tons of oil. About 360 tons spilled into the ocean. The 1,319 tons remaining were removed under really tough conditions by November 13. Kudos to the salvors.

 

The freed penguins were released into the Bay of Plenty with hopes they'll make their way back to their breeding rookery on Rabbit Island.

Bonne chance, little dudes.