The Penguin Lady responds to An Oily Problem

Imagine my delight when The Penguin Lady read and responded to my post!

In a recent post I shared this Ted talk The Great Penguin Rescue in which “the penguin lady” Dyan deNapoli talks about an oil spill that occurred when a ship sank off the coast of South Africa in the year 2000, oiling nearly 20,000 (almost half) of the total population of African penguins, and the efforts made to rescue them.

The rescue was successful with 90 percent of the oiled penguins returned to the wild.

I found Dyan’s story inspiring, not only for the penguin rescue, but for the learning she credits to the rescue, especially that one person can make a difference, and that “when we come together and work as one, we can achieve extraordinary things.”

I was delighted when Dyan read the post and supplied additional information. Since so many of you were interested in her story, I wanted to share with you what Dyan had to say.

This is her comment:

Hello Norah! I just came across your great post about oil and oil spills. Thank you so much for sharing my TED talk about the Treasure oil spill rescue, and for informing your audience about these important issues. I really enjoyed your flash fiction, and listening to Cesar Harada’s TED talk as well.

Thank you for providing information about how folks can adopt a penguin. I wanted to share the websites of a few more penguin rescue centers that are in need of support, and through which folks can adopt a penguin or fund the hand-rearing of an abandoned penguin chick. There are many organizations rescuing penguins throughout the Southern Hemisphere (there’s actually a complete list of these groups in the appendix of my book, The Great Penguin Rescue), but the following three are organizations doing great work that I regularly support and like to highlight. These are all groups that are doing direct, hands-on work to save oiled or injured penguins. (I also regularly support The Penguin Foundation in Australia, which you’ve already listed above.)

SANCCOB (the center we worked with during the oil spill rescue in 2000): https://sanccob.co.za/

Dyer Island Conservation Trust (DICT – also working to save Endangered African penguins): http://dict.org.za/pages/give-to-save/give-to-save.php

Yellow-Eyed Penguin Trust (YEPT – saving Endangered Yellow-Eyed penguins in New Zealand): http://www.yellow-eyedpenguin.org.nz/passion/support-the-trusts-work/make-a-donation

Thanks again – and keep up the great work!

Cheers,
Dyan deNapoli – The Penguin Lady

These are the ones I listed:

Seabirds. Adopt a penguin

The Penguin Foundation

The World Wildlife Fund

Wildlife Adoption and Gift Centre

I hadn’t realised that Dyan had written a book about The Great Penguin Rescue, but I immediately downloaded and started listening to the audiobook. It is a great read and I highly recommend it. I am not alone in doing so. The book has won three awards.

In the book, Dyan tells the story of how she came to be The Penguin Lady, provides information about penguins, and explains how the great penguin rescue was carried out. (Probably other stuff too, but I haven’t finished listening yet.) I have also ordered a hardback copy as it includes colour photographs. I’m looking forward to receiving it in a week or two.

In a subsequent comment, Dyan shares some of her story:

And to answer your question about when and how I became interested in penguins, it was quite accidental. I had returned to college at the age of 31 to pursue my lifelong dream of working with dolphins (which I briefly did in Hawaii), and during my senior year I landed a full-time, 4-month internship in the Penguin Department at the New England Aquarium in Boston, MA. From the moment I stepped into the penguin exhibit and found myself surrounded by 65 honking, braying, cavorting penguins, I was pretty-much hooked. Their behaviors captivated me, and I was totally surprised to discover that each individual had their own unique personality and temperament – not really what I had expected in a colonial bird. And I wanted to learn more about them.

I stayed on as a volunteer at the aquarium after graduating, and when a position finally opened up a year later, I applied for and got the position of Penguin Aquarist. I was at the aquarium for 9 years in total, and after leaving there at the end of 2004, I founded my company, The Penguin Lady, to teach kids and adults of all ages about penguin biology, behavior, and conservation. I speak in a variety of settings both locally and internationally, and donate 20% of my proceeds to penguin rescue, research, and conservation groups. One of my favorite gigs is being a guest speaker/penguin expert on nature cruises, and next February I’ll be returning to Antarctica as a guest lecturer for Lindblad Expeditions/National Geographic, which I’m VERY excited about!! My mission is to raise awareness and funding to protect penguins – 13 of the 18 penguin species are currently listed as Vulnerable, Near-Threatened, or Endangered, and that is what drives me to do the work that I do.

Thank you, Dyan, for sharing so generously.

There is much more to discover about The Penguin Lady and The Great Penguin Rescue. She is as passionate about education as she about penguins. Through educating us about caring for penguins, she is helping us care for the environment and make a better world. You may be surprised by some of the information in this wonderful educational video. I was.

And I’ll leave you with Dyan’s reminder:

You can connect with Dyan on both Facebook and Twitter.

Thank you for reading. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts.

 

 

 

28 thoughts on “The Penguin Lady responds to An Oily Problem

  1. Bec Colvin

    What a lovely post! It’s so nice to learn about The Penguin Lady and the wonderful work she does. We are so lucky to have people looking out for our wonderful wildlife. Thanks Norah and Dyan for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  2. Barbara

    My heart swells when I read about wonderful people like the Penguin Lady. For me anyone who ‘does the hard/difficult’ things so selflessly is what makes this such a wonderful world.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  3. Jennie

    How exciting that the Penguin Lady got back to you! And for me it was equally exciting to read that she got her start right here at the New England Aquarium in Boston. Their penguin exhibit is fabulous. The center of the aquarium is an enormous cylinder tank with a spiral walkway on the outside for visitors to walk along, from bottom to top and then back down. Brilliant design. A great career start for The Penguin Lady.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      I’m pleased you enjoyed the post, Jennie. Imagine the Penguin Lady being a local. I love the sound of the penguin exhibit at the NE Aquarium. Sounds fabulous. Have you taken the children there? How great to introduce them to the work of their very own local Penguin Lady. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
      1. Jennie

        It is a wonderful place. Years ago I did take the children. But now, state guidelines say that field trips must be under a 45 minute drive. Boston can be an hour away in traffic.

        Liked by 1 person

        Reply
        1. Norah Post author

          What a shame. It is a long way to take children on a bus. I understand the rule, but would always like to make an exception. For something exceptional. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

          Reply
          1. Jennie

            I agree! Other guidelines are also in place, like CPR, First Aid, and a background records check for driver/helpers. Good ideas, but few people are willing to take courses and undergo all that just in order to drive.

            Liked by 1 person

            Reply
  4. TanGental

    There is something of the ridiculous in the penguin that makes them so compelling. Lovely post and response Norah; having been lucky enough to visit penguin colonies in South Africa and NZ and on Kangaroo Island as well as work with the penguins at London zoo i get Dyan’s fascination. Long may we try and repair the damage we also do.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      When you know a little of their amazing abilities, they don’t seem quite as ridiculous do they? They are fascinating birds, and I so envy the opportunities you had to see them in their natural habitats. I’ve only visited them in zoos. I’m not sure if I saw them at the London Zoo though. But we have them in aquariums here and I saw them in the NY City zoo too. I hope, as you say, that many future generations will be able to appreciate them in the wild. Thanks for sharing your experiences and thoughts Geoff.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  5. thecontentedcrafter

    Norah, I add my voice to the general delight that the Penguin Lady stopped by and added to that original (fabulous) post. It is a great compliment when the subject matter takes the time to join in! 🙂 I was also delighted, of course, that Dyan mentioned the Yellow Eyed Penguin Trust, something that is dear to my heart – those little creatures would be a great loss to us if we cannot bring them back from the brink of extinction. Congratulations on receiving this great compliment! The book is now on my want to read list 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you for adding your thoughts, Pauline. It is very sad to think that so many of the penguins are vulnerable or close to extinction. I think you’ll enjoy the book. I thought it might be a bit dry, but it is totally fascinating. Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

      Like

      Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you, Anne. I appreciate all those who read and comment, but it is nice to receive acknowledgement from someone whose work I have celebrated without their prior knowledge. 🙂

      Like

      Reply

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