Baby Penguins Adrift

More than 400 baby penguins have been found dead on beaches in Brazil, hundreds of miles from their native habitats. It is not uncommon to find the occasional penguin (dead or not) wahsed by currents far to the north of where they normally live, the number of penguins being found now is unprecedented.

Why is this happening? According to Thiago Muniz, a veterinarian at the Niteroi Zoo, this could be due to overfishing forcing the penguins to forage father asea than normal, where they encounter strong currents.

Details here.


  1. #1 Joel
    July 19, 2008

    Here is another article about it. These biologists believe the penguins are dying because of the increased rain fall, the young penguins are not yet able to shed water.

    ‘In the past five years, torrential rains have become increasingly common there. We saw Adelie penguin chicks shivering during nearly six days of continuous storms.

    If it had been snow, like in the old days, their down would be perfectly equipped to cope. But they can’t take rain. It’s like wearing a down jacket that gets soaking wet.

    At night, the temperature would dip and the next morning we’d find them dead from hypothermia.

    Other marine creatures like seals in the Antarctic are born with fur, but penguin chicks have nothing to protect them.’

  2. #2 wazza
    July 19, 2008

    What about the possibility that they were on an ice shelf that calved, and the iceberg drifted too far north and they drowned when it rolled, as they are wont to do?

  3. #3 blf
    July 20, 2008

    What mystery? The BBC filmed the penguins landing in the tropics last April. There guys clearly didn’t quite make it.