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Why Are Oil-Covered Penguins Washing Up Dead on Brazilian Beaches?

Oil covered penguins in Brazil Oil-slicked penguins, possibly thousands of them, washed up dead on the beaches of a popular Brazilian resort in the south of Brazil on Friday, and Brazilian officials reported they are searching for a cause.

Brazilian authorities said they have counted nearly 200 dead penguins found on the beaches of the island city of Florianópolis, but people bringing in live penguins covered with oil reported seeing hundreds more dead on the beaches, according to Manuela Osório, a veterinarian with a group caring for the surviving birds.

"We don't know for sure because nobody is keeping tabs of the dead," she said. "What we do know is we have 155 live penguins we are treating for oil intoxication."

Marcelo Duarte of the Santa Catarina state environmental police said nearly 200 washed up since Sunday, and revealed that the oil probably leaked from a large ship. Police and the Coast Guard are trying to determine the culprit.

While it is common in Brazil to find some penguins, both dead and alive, swept by strong ocean currents from the Strait of Magellan, the birds are showing up in greater numbers than most experts can remember.

They also are heading much farther north, with reports of penguins washing up as far away as Rio Grande do Norte state, near the equator.

Some biologists believe stronger-than-usual ocean currents or colder-than-usual ocean temperatures have pulled the birds north. Others suggest over fishing near Patagonia and Antarctica has forced the penguins to swim farther in search of food. But there is no scientific evidence to back any of the theories.



  • Show Comments (2)

  • ch.c.

    Forrest Allen Brown !
    You are so right !
    but failed to mention due to…..BRAZILIANS ships and/or Petrobras oil exploration/drilling

  • forrest allen brown

    simple if you think about it
    tankers cleaning there bilges and storages tanks

    or filling there tanks to stableiz the ships coming from any where and at night

    just before they come into port pump out there tanks ,

    another reason would be in brazils haste to put in wells in deep water the have a
    bad BOP and it is leaking and with the underwater currents comes up a mile or more away

    and petrobrass does not want to pay to correct the well

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