17 July 2012

Puzzling penguin deaths in Brazil under investigation

BRAZIL - Autopsies are being conducted after 512 dead Magellanic penguins were found on beaches in Brazil's southern Rio Grande do Sul state, AFP reports.

The Center of Coastal and Marine Studies (Ceclimar) said that around 30 samples from the penguins were being analysed by veterinarians at Porto Alegre University and results were to be released within a month.

The large number of dead penguins and the fact that the birds appear to be well fed, not exhausted, uninjured and untainted by oil has veterinarians puzzled, Celclimar said.

In its coverage of the event, BBC News said that similar incidents in the past have been blamed on shifting ocean currents and colder temperatures.

Magellanic penguins breed in southern Argentina and Chile. Their annual migration, between March and September, takes them north along the Rio Grande do Sul coast up to Sao Paulo.

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Sources
500 penguins found dead on Brazil beaches, 14 July 2012, AFP
Brazil biologists investigate penguin deaths, 14 July 2012, BBC News
 

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