Following a mystery oil spill in the South Atlantic Ocean on Boxing Day 2007, Fundación Patagonia Natural, WLT's project partners in Patagonia, have been working with IFAW's oiled wildlife team, local groups, rehabilitators and veterinarians, to clean up oiled sea birds. This spill covered an area of 24 square kilometers in the Atlantic Ocean threatening hundreds of animals.
Over 600 birds were treated, including 200 threatened Magellanic penguins, Steamer ducks, Silvery grebes, cormorants and Crested grebes. On February 13th 163 of the 200 Magellanic penguins were released back into the sea and other birds are still being cared for and will be released when they have recovered.
IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare) also fund work carried out by WLT's project partners in India – Wildlife Trust of India.
The Magellanic penguin is the largest of the warm-weather penguins and was named after Ferdinand Magellan who first saw them in 1519 on his first voyage around the tip of South America. Although millions of these penguins survive on the coasts of Argentina and Chile, they are classified as "Near Threatened," mainly because they are so vulnerable from oil spills. It is estimated that up to 20,000 adults and 22,000 juveniles are killed by oil spills every year off the coast of Argentina.