An unusual number of dead and live penguins, most of them young ones, have been washed ashore on the beaches of Rio De Janeiro in Brazil, more than 3,500 kilometers north of the Strait of Magellan near the southern end of south America. Over 400 dead birds have been spotted by officials in the last two months, and there is concern about more deaths. The causes for such a large number of penguins coming as far north as the Brazilian coast is not yet certain, though it is not unusual for some penguins to be carried northward by strong ocean currents.
A large number of baby birds succumb to the force of ocean currents because they have just left their nests and are not strong enough to out-swim the ocean currents they come across as they go far into the ocean searching for food.
Environmentalists say that the penguins were forced to venture far out into the ocean in search of food due to over fishing close to the coast by fishing vessels. The death of the penguins is thought to be largely due to scarcity of food. But, oil is another very likely culprit in the Campos Basin area.
Aside from the oil in the Campos Basin, the pollution is lowering the animals’ immunity, leaving them vulnerable to funguses and bacteria that attack their lungs
said Eduardo Pimenta, superintendent for the state coastal protection and environment agency in the resort city of Cabo Frio, quoting biologists who work with him.
The effect of global warming, which affects ocean currents and creates cyclones, is a likely reason according to biologist Erli Costa of Rio de Janeiro’s Federal University.
The alarmingly large number of penguin deaths has raised serious concern among government officials as well as the environmentalists and nature enthusiasts.
Source: Yahoo News