20 June 2011

Uruguayan penguin deaths attributed to natural causes

URUGUAY - Autopsies performed on some of the 600-plus Magellanic penguins washed up on Uruguayan beaches have pointed to death by natural causes rather than "chemical intoxication", MercoPress reported.

Intoxication from the agricultural chemicals used the area had been considered as one of the possible causes of the penguins' deaths.

Daniel Gilardoni, head of Uruguay's Natural Aquatic Resources Administration, told MercoPress that Argentine scientists who performed the autopsies have for now discarded chemical intoxication as a cause of death, the reason being that most of the dead penguins are juveniles.

“If it had been intoxication, the dead penguins should have been of all ages and sex, but that is not the case,” he said.

He added that at this time of the year almost a million penguins migrate along the Uruguayan Atlantic coast, and this number includes anywhere between 500,000 and 700,000 juveniles.

“This fact makes us believe that natural causes have been the reason for penguins’ deaths."

Read related post: Mysterious deaths of hundreds of penguins in Uruguay 

Dead penguins discovered in Uruguayan coast: perished of "natural causes", 18 June 2011, MercoPress

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