Now when the Treasure sank in 2000, it was the height of the best breeding season scientists had ever recorded for the African penguin, which at the time, was listed as a threatened species.
And soon, nearly 20,000 penguins were covered with this toxic oil.
The local seabird rescue center, named SANCCOB, immediately launched a massive rescue operation, and this soon would become the largest animal rescue ever undertaken.
At the time, I was working down the street. I was a penguin aquarist at the New England Aquarium.
And exactly 11 years ago yesterday, the phone rang in the penguin office. And with that call, my life would change forever.
It was Estelle van Der Merwe calling from SANCCOB, saying, "Please come help.
那是来自南非滨海鸟类保育基金会的埃斯特尔·范·德·米尔(Estelle van der Meer)打来的电话，电话里，他说“请来帮帮忙。
We have thousands of oiled penguins and thousands of willing but completely inexperienced volunteers.
And we need penguin experts to come train and supervise them." So two days later, I was on a plane headed for Cape Town with a team of penguin specialists.
And the scene inside of this building was devastating and surreal. In fact, many people compared it to a war zone.
Last week, a 10-year-old girl asked me: "What did it feel like when you first walked into that building and saw so many oiled penguins?"
And this is what happened. I was instantly transported back to that moment in time.
Penguins are very vocal birds and really, really noisy, so I expected to walk into this building and be met with this cacophony of honking and braying and squawking.
But instead, when we stepped through those doors and into the building, it was eerily silent.
So it was very clear these were stressed, sick, traumatized birds.