Tuesday, November 30, 2010

“The Great Penguin Rescue” Giveaway

The Great Penguin Rescue: 40,000 Penguins, a Devastating Oil Spill, and the Inspiring Story of the World's Largest Animal Rescue
by Dyan deNapoli
Free Press
320 pages

I just finished reading “The Great Penguin Rescue” by Dyan deNapoli, and thanks to Free Press, I have three copies to give away! Yeah!! For the next seven days, anyone who leaves a comment on my blog will automatically be entered in the giveaway. The more comments you leave…the more chances you have to win. At the end of seven days, I will print out all the comments for the week and put them in a bowl…and draw three out. If you’re not into commenting, send me an email. I will put all email entries in the bowl as well.

About the book (psstt…you’ll love it!)
"The Great Penguin Rescue" is an account of the world’s largest (and most successful) animal rescue ever. It takes place in South Africa after a tanker named the Treasure went down, spilling 1,300 tons of oil into the ocean and contaminating the habitat of nearly 40,000 African penguins (which is 41% of the world’s population of African penguins). Forty-one percent!!! Almost half the world’s population of this incredible bird was at risk and likely to die if a rescue wasn’t made…and quick. DeNapoli’s book chronicles the entire rescue operation giving a first-hand view of what happened. The book is a fast read because it’s hard to put down—you want to keep reading to learn every detail of the rescue. I was amazed at the effort involved in running a rescue operation…and of the sacrifices the volunteers made for the penguins. In a matter of days, people from all over the world massed to save these birds, most of whom were lay volunteers who needed to be trained. In addition to the comprehensive recounting of what it takes to put together and run a rescue effort, deNapoli weaves in inspiring stories of penguins she has worked with through the years, passing on a deeper (and more intimate) understanding of the species and probably a greater appreciation of them as well. At the end of three months when the massive rescue operation finally came to a close, 95% of all the penguins rescued were saved thanks to the work of over 12,500 people. 20,000 penguins had been rescued, washed, force-fed and finally rehabilitated, while another 20,000 had been captured and moved to a safer location. In all, 40,000 penguins, or almost half the world’s population, had been saved…

I took a lot of notes while I read this book, looking for perfect excerpts to help impart the meaning of the book, but I ended up with 7 pages of “meaningful” quotes. Basically, everything was meaningful! I settled with these four:
It was winter in the Southern Hemisphere, and the darkness of the South African morning surrounded us as we made our way to the rescue center. Our group was quiet during the twenty-five minute ride, each person lost in their own thoughts about the task we were about to face. Although collectively we had more than one hundred years of experience working with the penguins, none of us had dealt with a situation of this magnitude. The truth was that no one ever had. In the history of organized wildlife rescue, there had never been this many penguins—or any other kind of animal—oiled and recovered alive at once before. In fact, this penguin rescue would soon prove to be twice as large as any that had been attempted in the past. And it would double again in size before it was over (deNapoli 7).
On the day that Salt River opened, the Red Cross was there to take care of the people working the rescue effort. Their station was set up just inside the main entrance, on the right-hand side. This was where snacks and drinks were distributed to the volunteers, and where their injuries were treated. When they first arrived, Red Cross staff and volunteers probably had no idea they would spend the next few months of their lives stitching up deep wounds from vicious penguin bites, bandaging fingers shredded from force-feeding the birds, and giving tetanus shots to scores of injured volunteers. The more severe wounds ranged from fingers that had been slashed by razor-sharp beaks while feeding penguins to facial injuries inflicted by frightened birds. Most of these cuts and gashes could be treated simply by disinfecting and bandaging them; still, I imagine these Red Cross workers were quite surprised by the amount of suture material they went through during the course of the Treasure rescue. Penguins may look cute and cuddly but they are actually quite ornery, and most people are unaware of how powerfully they can bite. Their beaks can split human flesh like a steak knife slicing through butter. And because of their fierce jaw strength, these lacerations can be quite severe and surprisingly painful (deNapoli 96).
South Africa’s only penguins had long been struggling to survive and now they were in serious trouble; this oil spill could very well be the event that doomed them to an early extinction. Our goal in coming to Cape Town was to try to save these seabirds, not only as individual animals but as a species (deNapoli 117).
The average number of penguins being washed each day at that point was 550; but on this evening, the penguin washers pushed themselves harder so they could get through the remaining oiled birds. They were so close to completing their long task that they didn’t want to stop, not when the end was so tantalizingly near. That Saturday, they washed 693 penguins. It was the second largest number of birds to be washed in a single day during the Treasure rescue effort. Incredibly, it had taken just twenty-nine days to clean all the oiled penguins at Salt River (deNapoli 220).
Dyan deNapoli was formerly a Senior Penguin Aquarist at Boston’s New England Aquarium. She has spent the last fifteen years working with penguins and teaching more than 250,000 people about them. You can learn more about deNapoli by going to her website (www.thepenguinlady.com) or reading her blog, “The Penguin Lady.” The author is donating a portion of her proceeds from this book to penguin rescue, research, and conservation organizations, as well as to the Gulf oil spill relief efforts.

26 comments:

Laure Ferlita said...

Sounds like an exciting read, Kelly! Count me in!

Lois Evensen said...

Yes, please count me in, too. It sounds like a great book.

Montanagirl said...

Oh, I'll bet judging from the four excerpts, it's a wonderful book! Count me in as well.

tanya904 said...

Thanks for the review and giveaway It sounds like a book that I would enjoy
tanyainjville at yahoo dot com

holdingmoments said...

What an amazing story that sounds, and so glad that so many people risked a lot, to help the Penguins.
Reading those excerpts Kelly, I never realised just how lethal those beaks were.

Kelly said...

...I didn't either, Keith. I learned a lot from the book...

Roy said...

From what you have already said Kelly, that must be an amazing story.

Chris said...

Wow sounds like a very interesting story Kelly... A treasure quest for the safety of nature life!!

Rural Rambler said...

Kelly I hadn't thought about the whole Sasquatch image thing till you mentioned it! I like it! I will have to tell CH when he wakes up. He will love it. Too funny!

Rural Rambler said...

Oh! I would love a chance or two for your giveaway. Thank you so much :)

Hilke Breder said...

Wether I win a copy or not, I am going to get it. It sounds like a thrilling read! There is so much I don't know about penguins.

Out on the prairie said...

One of the first thoughts I had was how they avoided those beaks.I knew they can be sharp. The give-away sonds nice, you are kind to do that.

forgetmenot said...

Sounds like a fascinating book--I will be sure to put it on my reading list. It's amazing what can happen when a bunch of people work toward the same goal.

thepenguinlady said...

Hi Kelly,

I just came across your post about my book - thank you so much for the lovely review. I'm so pleased that you enjoyed the book, and happy to know that three of your readers will win a copy as well. The rescue effort is an experience that will stay with me forever.

Warmly,
Dyan deNapoli

Kelly said...

Wow! Thank you, Dyan for stopping by. (I about fell over when I saw your comment!) I learned so much from your book. You and all the volunteers are true heros...a very inspiring story. It must be wonderful knowing you had a very large part in saving a species...

Felicia said...

I adore penguins! And that book sounds truly inspiring. Count me in!

Shelley said...

My stepson has a soft spot for penguins - thus so do I! :-) Sounds like a fantastic giveaway - please count me in!

soccnsax said...

I asked for this book for the holidays because I can't wait to read it and share it with all of my friends and family. There could not be a more timely book to read.
Great review

Elaine said...

What an amazing rescue operation! Thank goodness for all the caring volunteers who spent so much time saving these penguins. I didn't know that penguins had such a vicious bite. The book sounds very interesting.

Elva Paulson said...

This sounds like a facinating book .... and how nice of you to have a drawing. Count me in.

The Early Birder said...

An interesting and inspiring review. Count me in unless I'm too far away!! FAB.

Kelly said...

...Frank, you're not too far away. I can ship anywhere!

The book is interesting, and you will learn something from it too, which is always a good thing! Good luck to everyone. This is a good start. All the comments for all the posts this week will go in the hat...I wonder who will win??

Sarah Knight said...

Looks like an interesting read. I have an aunt who used to work for the DNR who trained to do the clean-up in the gulf — I'm sure we'll be hearing some stories come Christmas.

freebird said...

Count me in! I love books about animals.

shortsht58 said...

I can't WAIT to get a copy of this book. I worked with Dyan about 30 years ago at a resort in Colorado, and know she is passionate about anything that she pursues.

Hilke Breder said...

Beautiful close-ups of the Robin, such fine detail in the feathers and the colors of the chest.

I am absolutely thrilled to have won a print of the Eastern Meadow Lark! I'll send you an email with my address.