The dead bodies of some 100 oil-stained penguins washed up on Uruguay’s southern coast, and the South American country’s naval authorities were investigating their deaths Monday. The animals are Magellanic penguins (Spheniscus Magellanicus), some 70 centimetres tall and weighing about 5 kilogrammes, the authorities said. In the South American winter, these animals, which cannot fly, swim north to southern Brazil from the Patagonian coast.
It seemed likely that the animals got caught in an oil spill that was the result of a crash last week, some 20 kilometres off Montevideo’s coast. Some 14,000 litres of fuel oil leaked into the ocean as a result of a collision between a Greek-flagged ship and a Maltese vessel. However, the connection was not immediately confirmed. Naval authorities assisted by marine fauna experts were investigating the deaths of the animals, washed ashore over a stretch of some 250 kilometres between Montevideo and Rocha.
Man, what a horrible thing to hear. On the brighter side, some of the Megallanics are being washed and cared for by SOS-Marine Life Rescue. Even so, more penguin lives could still be taken.