World’s Largest-Ever Penguin Rescue Planned as South Pole Melts
OSLO — An international team of experts is meeting this week to put together a plan to rescue more than a million penguins living on a massive, mile-thick ice sheet in the Antarctic that is melting and about to break away from the South Pole.
“Moving one penguin is easy. Just hold out a fishstick and he will follow you anywhere,” said Dr. Hans Gruner of the German Bi-Polar Studies Department at Munich University.
“But, hey. You try moving a million or more penguins. We don’t have a million fishsticks.”
“So we will have to patiently herd them. This penguin rescue is going to be like a slow-motion, wild west waddle of a round-up.”
The emergency relocation of the penguins came about suddenly after scientists raised the alarm in two studies released late last week that both show the giant Thwaites Glacier has cracked away from the South Pole ice cap. The glacier is the size of Texas but without any oil wells or border fences.
“We had 4,000 Hyundai’s on the ship once,” said Captain Walter deWynter of International Shipping registered in Singapore.
“But we’ve never had a single penguin and now we’re going to have a few hundred thousand of the birds. I think they’re birds…but they can’t fly. I don’t think.”
Seventeen countries are involved in the emergency planning and more than 40 ships have already been lined up. Carnival Cruise Lines is lending the 3,700 passenger Carnival Breeze which is expected to hold 6 penguins per state room.
“The South Pole is melting much quicker than even America’s Al Gory says,” said Dr. Giselle Finachiaro, a Glaciologist at Italy’s Instituto Ecologia Studi. “The Thwaites Glacier will take decades and decades to melt but will raise the sea level by more than a metre (3.28″). People in cities like Newark, New Jersey, will need canoes to go to 7-Eleven.”
Dr. Gruner says that the plan at this stage is to relocate the penguins to the Arctic where there are no penguins but the climate and geography are similar.
“We have had inquiries from zoos but that is not in the plans,” he told Reuters.
“And before this goes nuts on social media, penguins do not make good house pets.”
Reportering for The Lapine