500 dead penguins wash up on Brazil beaches
SAO PAULO — Marine biologists and veterinarians said the bodies of more than 500 penguins have washed up on beaches in southern Brazil during the past week.
They told the G1 online news site that the Center of Coastal and Marine Studies is investigating what caused the deaths of the 512 penguins found on beaches of the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul.
The cause of death should be known within a month, the scientists said. But it’s something of a mystery.
The penguins were migrating north from Argentina in search of food in warmer waters. The birds appeared to be well-fed, unhurt and without oil stains.
These Magellanic penguins, named after the Magallanes region in which they breed, mate in large colonies in southern Argentina and Chile.
They traditionally migrate north between March and September along the Rio Grande do Sul coast to head up to Sao Paulo.
Their diet consists mainly of small fish and marine crustaceans and their chief enemy is the southern sea lion.