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49 penguins freed after rescue from New Zealand oil spill

A Little Blue Penguin encouraged by a wild life worker to head back to the sea.
A Little Blue Penguin encouraged by a wild life worker to head back to the sea.Marty Melville / AFP - Getty Images
Little Blue Penguins runs towards the sea after being released by wild life workers and school children at Mount Maunganui beach in Tauranga on Thursday, Dec. 8, 2011.
Little Blue Penguins runs towards the sea after being released by wild life workers and school children at Mount Maunganui beach in Tauranga on Thursday, Dec. 8, 2011.Marty Melville / AFP - Getty Images
Wild life workers and school children release Little Blue Penguins.
Wild life workers and school children release Little Blue Penguins.Marty Melville / AFP - Getty Images
Wild life workers and school children release Little Blue Penguins back into the sea at Mount Maunganui beach.
Wild life workers and school children release Little Blue Penguins back into the sea at Mount Maunganui beach.Marty Melville / AFP - Getty Images
A Little Blue Penguin encouraged by a wild life worker to head back to the sea.
A Little Blue Penguin encouraged by a wild life worker to head back to the sea.Marty Melville / AFP - Getty Images

It makes me happy to see these penguins return to the sea.  

AP reports:

WELLINGTON, New Zealand — Forty-nine penguins rescued from an oil spill off New Zealand have been freed after being cleaned and nursed back to health by wildlife officials.

The birds released Tuesday are among 343 little blue penguins that have been cleaned of oil since a cargo ship ran aground on a reef near Tauranga on Oct. 5 and spilled some 400 tons of fuel oil.

More than 2,000 sea birds died in the spill.