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The Great Penguin Rescue: 40,000 Penguins, a Devastating Oil Spill, and the Inspiring Story of the World's Largest Animal Rescue Hardcover – October 26, 2010
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Top Customer Reviews
Penguins are in trouble around the globe, and the catastrophic oil spill in 2000 right in the middle of a pair of breeding colonies caused world-wide alarm. Within days the call went out to penguin experts everywhere to come in and help. Dyan deNapoli was one of those who answered the call. She was plunged into a situation unlike any that had been seen before. Giant warehouses of scared, oil-coated penguins had to be evaluated, hand fed, and cleaned. The volunteers had to handle razor-sharp beaks, exhausting hours, and sickening stench. They fought through it all, knowing the species' survival could be at stake.
Dyan does an amazing job of helping the reader be there in the moment with her. My eyes welled with tears at many points as I read about the things the people and penguins went through. The rescuers didn't know if this effort would work or not. They could only do their best and pray things worked out.
The book makes you realize that each one of us can make a difference if we follow our dreams and focus on our goals. The people rescuing the penguins were often housewives and office workers, donating their time and efforts to clean the penguin tanks, cut up the fish, and do the many other tasks necessary to keep the rescue center going. Every one of those people helped to make the rescue a success. Each of us has that power, to use our time to make the world a better place.
I read my signed book in one sitting a day after meeting her. I will say this: the journey she conveys is in the tradition of the best scientific writing (E.O. Wilson) and brings her personal interest in the plight of the South African penguins to the interested reading public. What other reviewers fail to mention is that the Treasure Hunt oil spill in 2000 was but the second catastrophic oil spill in the region. Some of the penguins were veterans of two oil disasters. Dyan, a penguin expert at the New England Aquarium, was called in to join marine wildlife experts from around the world. She had no idea of the magnitude of the horror that she would encounter at the scene. The reader learns that penguins are usually very vocal birds (and territorial, with razor-sharp beaks), but when she entered the warehouse where they were kept, there was an ominous silence. Step-by-step she retells what the team did, what the thousands of heroic volunteers had to do for these birds.
There is heartbreak: some birds died not from the spill, but from the transportation in crates in truck overland. Volunteers hand-washed the birds. It took an hour or more per bird, so multiply that times thousands of birds to understand the volunteer hours – and the scars from the birds. It is inspiring to know that so many people from around the world came together for these birds. One can only wonder what could be accomplished if people did this for other people. I was very impressed when I read that it was a bright 17-year old boy who invented the special soap to degrease the penguins.Read more ›
While the book's premise focuses mostly upon the author's experience at the Salt River Centre during the time of the Treasure oil spill, it also provides a lot of background information. The author not only discussed her own work with penguins and how she got started, but also provided enlightening information about oil spills, general penguin and African penguin population statistics, and the impacts of a wildlife rescue upon animals and humans alike. Furthermore, she blended these statistics seamlessly into her writing, helping the reader to feel more at ease with the information they were being told, as opposed to having it thrown at them.
Dyan did an excellent job of writing this book, not only with basic things like structure and grammar, but also by structuring her story to help the reader understand the heartbreaking and heartwarming experience this rescue was. She very often contrasted funny anecdotes with heartbreaking events that showed the reader how emotionally turmoil the situation was. Not only that, but her strategy also kept the story moving and helped prevent the deeper emotional events from weighing down her account too much. Dyan also managed to paint a vivid picture through her excellent use of prose, helping to establish scenes in the reader's mind. Sometimes, I could actually see these birds, covered with oil, and cowering in their pens!Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A wonderful book about a tragic disaster--the oiling of thousands of penguins off the South African coast.Published 14 months ago by Kristine McCaffrey
I saw Dyans TED talk online, and she is a great speaker. I bought this book after seeing her talk. This book is quite moving. I will share this book with others.Published 24 months ago by Hanna
Great information and description of how the penguins were rescued by generous volunteers of their time and effort. Some parts are slow reading.Published on March 9, 2014 by Ruby
Amazing story about how a few handful of wildlife rescuers and 1000's of volunteers saved over 40,000 penguins during the 2000 Treasure oil spill. Really moving and touching. Read morePublished on July 16, 2011 by M.A.
This is a great tale of a rescue that gives hope to all who care about animals, and penguins specifically, in this time when creatures all over the world are under increasing... Read morePublished on February 2, 2011 by Alvin E Powell
THE GREAT PENGUIN RESCUE: 40,000 PENGUINS, A DEVASTATING OIL SPILL, AND THE INSPIRING STORY OF THE WORLD'S LARGEST ANIMAL RESCUE tells of a 2000 oil spill off south Africa which... Read morePublished on January 17, 2011 by Midwest Book Review
This book is touching in that it has been written by the Author expressing her own experiences during the biggest wildlife rescue to date ! Read morePublished on January 12, 2011 by Rick CPT