The day had finally come for one of our long term rehab patients to be released!
This was a rather special patient, a Snares Crested Penguin as a matter or fact, who was found on a beach in southern Tasmania badly injured a number of months ago. Her wounds were deep and were suspected to have been caused by a dog attack. She was very lucky to have been found in time and taken to a specialist vet for surgery. Once the surgery was done she was transferred to a wildlife carer whose expertise is in seabird rehabilitation. This wonderful carer looked after the penguin for the first 8 weeks (often the hardest, particularly with a bird so susceptible to infection).
Thanks to this carer the penguin was able to be transferred to Bonorong when it was deemed necessary for the bird to have access to a lager salt water swimming pool and stayed with us for the remainder of her time in rehabilitation.
Because of the nature of the penguin's wounds her feathers and skin were very traumatised and we had to wait for her to 'moult' before she could be released. Moult is the process that penguins will go through once a year to grow a new set of feathers that keep them waterproof. Penguins will usually go through their moult between the months of February to April and the process can take up to three weeks. Penguins are very vulnerable while they are moulting as the are not waterproof and must remain on land. Before going into the moult penguins will literally double their body weight, this is to survive the time they have to stay on land not being able to feed.
The penguin luckily went through a perfect moult and was given the all okay to be released! This was incredibly exciting news for all of the staff and everyone that had been involved in her long rehabilitation process.
On the day of the release, thirteen of the staff had extremely early starts to get to the release site by dawn, and with perfect weather conditions & a stunning sunrise everything came together just as we had hoped!
This photo below captures a magical moment of a perfect release and we wish 'Miss Simpson' (as she was affectionately known) a wonderful, long & happy life
Thank you to everyone that was involved in helping this penguin make a wonderful recovery, it is the amazing success stories like this that keep us all inspired to do so much more!
There is also this link to a short clip that we put together of the release, enjoy! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ogv2WnhoCuM&feature=share