Now the day after we arrived, a new crisis began to unfold.
The oil slick was now moving north towards Dassen Island, and the rescuers despaired, because they knew if the oil hit, it would not be possible to rescue any more oiled birds.
And there really were no good solutions. But then finally, one of the researchers threw out this crazy idea.
He said, "OK, why don't we try and collect the birds at the greatest risk of getting oiled" --
they collected 20,000 -- "and we'll ship them 500 miles up the coast to Port Elizabeth in these open-air trucks,
and release them into the clean waters there and let them swim back home?"
So three of those penguins -- Peter, Pamela and Percy -- wore satellite tags,
and the researchers crossed their fingers and hoped that by the time they got back home, the oil would be cleaned up from their islands.
And luckily, the day they arrived, it was. So it had been a huge gamble, but it had paid off.
And so they know now that they can use this strategy in future oil spills.
So in wildlife rescue as in life, we learn from each previous experience, and we learn from both our successes and our failures.
And the main thing learned during the Apollo Sea rescue in '94 was that most of those penguins had died due to the unwitting use of poorly ventilated transport boxes and trucks,
because they just had not been prepared to deal with so many oiled penguins at once.
So in these six years between these two oil spills, they've built thousands of these well-ventilated boxes.
And as a result, during the Treasure rescue, just 160 penguins died during the transport process, as opposed to 5,000. So this alone was a huge victory.