18 Jul '12, 8am

Brazil's Mass Penguin Die-Off 'Natural', Say Scientists

Brazil's Mass Penguin Die-Off 'Natural', Say Scientists

In the last month, more than 700 Magellan penguins have washed up dead on the beaches of south Brazil. And although this discovery has captured international headlines and left scientists puzzled, a group of local biologists are now saying that the disturbing die-off is rooted in a natural cause -- though the details of its origin has yet to be determined. According to Brazil's center for coastal studies, Ceclimar, nothing was found on the birds' bodies to indicate any human activity led to the deaths, but the bodies may be too decomposed to offer many definitive clues. "The majority of specimens found last week were young animals and that are in the first year of life and are inexperienced. All had the same pattern of tissue autolysis (a stage of decomposition), were thin with high parasite load, showed no external injuries and no oil on the feathers," Ceclimar released i...

Full article: http://www.treehugger.com/endangered-species/experts-call...

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