Penguins rescued from a massive oil spill off New Zealand have been set free after being cleaned up and nursed back to health. They were set free on Mt. Maunganui beach.
The 49 birds are among 343 little blue penguins that have been cleaned of oil since cargo ship Rena hit Astrolabe Reef near Tauranga on October 5th, spilling 400 tons of fuel into the ocean and killing more than 2,000 sea birds.
Smallest Species Of Penguin In The World
The blue penguins, the smallest species of penguin in the world, were found a few days after the maritime catastrophe which hit the once pristine beaches of Mount Manganui and Papamoa.
Oil leaked from the Liberian-flagged Rena, stranded 12 nautical miles off the coast, created a three-mile (5km) slick.
The flightless birds that survived spent six weeks being looked after and cleaned by experts.
Penguins Fitted With Microchips
The penguins have been fitted with microchips so they can be monitored after their release.
Watch this adorable video of the release of the penguins here:
Photo Credit: wilkintj