2000 dead penguins wash up in Uruguay

Animal News : 2000 dead penguins wash up in Uruguay
Authorities check dead penguins that appeared on the coast of Uruguay, July 18, 2023, credit: ULAN/Pool / Latin America News Agency via Reuters Connect

Around two thousand dead penguins have washed up on the coast of Uruguay in the last ten days. The government reports that these are unprecedented numbers. Most of the victims were young animals with empty stomachs and no fat reserves. 

The Magellanic penguins died in the Atlantic Ocean and washed ashore on the eastern coast of Uruguay due to currents. “It’s normal for a certain percentage to die, but not this many,” the Uruguayan Ministry of Environment stated. Research has shown that the animals were not infected with bird flu. 

Magellanic penguins breed in the south of Argentina and migrate northward at this time of year in search of food and warmer waters.

“The autopsies performed on penguins that appeared dead on our shores revealed that the animals had empty digestive tracts, which indicates that they wouldn’t have eaten food for several days. And they practically had no grease coating,” animal welfare organization SOS Rescate Fauna Marina Uruguay said in a social media post.

“At first glance, we also noticed they were tremendously thin. Food shortages as a result of overexploitation of South Atlantic fishing and the impact of climate change on offshore currents could be the causes of this sad event,” the organization said, adding that the animals were too weak to fight the recent subtropical cyclone.

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