What Makes This Bird So Special?

Publication: Washington Post

Author: Juliet Eilperin

11/24/2009 - The Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds – a rehabilitation center complete with small swimming pools and medical files on all of its patients – is where African penguins come to get better.

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Penguins aren't that different from people," explained Dee Boersma, a conservation biologist at the University of Washington at Seattle, who won the prestigious Heinz Award for her lifelong work on penguins. "They have to make a living, provide for their chicks and commute to find food. Walking upright and looking so well-dressed probably helps us identify with them."

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Pablo García-Borboroglu, a researcher at the National Resource Council of Argentina and founder of the Global Penguin Society, wrote in a 2008 scientific paper, "Penguins are particularly vulnerable to petroleum spills because they swim low in the water, must surface regularly to breathe, do not fly, are less able to detect and avoid petroleum than other seabirds, and often encounter discharges of petroleum when they are at sea. . . . Petroleum pollution has killed thousands of penguins in Africa, Australia and New Zealand, South America, and even Antarctica."

Read the full article What Makes This Bird So Special? on the Washington Post's Web site.

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