A real massacre of Magellanic penguins took place on the beaches of Uruguay, where thousands of them were found dead, at least 5,000, as highlighted by the media of the South American country. The incident happened in La Paloma, north of Montevideo.
From the first hypotheses, the mass death of penguins in Uruguay would be due to a lack of food in the waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Communications manager of the Municipality of La Paloma, Pablo Sena, said after the discovery: "The lview is quite depressing, sad. We are facing a large mortality of penguins mostly here in La Paloma, but in fact along the entire coast of Uruguay.
Malnutrition, the maximum consequence of an overexploited and neglected ocean. Other hypotheses can also be made, such as the cyclone that crossed the ocean last week without reaching the Uruguayan coast, which could also be one of the causes which helped make this mortality even higher."
Massive death of penguins on the beaches of Uruguay
The Rescate Fauna Marina association wrote on Facebook: "The necropsies carried out on the penguins that were found dead on our coasts, revealed that the animals had their digestive systems empty.
This indicates that they did not ingest food for several days. And they had virtually no fat layer. To the full eye we also perceived that they were tremendously thin. Food shortages due to overfishing in the South Atlantic and the impact of climate change on sea currents may be causing this sad event." Experts have highlighted that the hypothesis of the impact of the recent storm was also evaluated, but that however it was the lack of power that killed them, as it prevented the penguins from weathering the storm.
Magellanic penguins are animals adapted to living in cold waters thanks to the thick layer of fat they accumulate by eating anchovies, sardines and other small fish, but if the availability of prey is scarce or completely absent due to the collapse of fish stocks, they are unable to face migration and die en masse.