Scientists puzzled as HUNDREDS of healthy-looking penguins wash up dead in Brazil
Daily Mail Reporter
The bodies of more than 500 penguins have washed up on beaches in southern Brazil in the past week.
Marine biologists and veterinarians are investigating what killed the birds, which appeared well-fed, unhurt and without oil stains.
The Center of Coastal and Marine Studies said it should get results from autopsies being conducted on some of the penguins within the next month, which will reveal the cause of death.
Dead: The bodies of more than 500 penguins, pictured, have washed up on beaches in southern Brazil in the past week
Scientists counted 512 penguins washed up dead on beaches of the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul, between the towns of Tramandai and Cidreira, some 60 miles from the state capital, Porto Alegre.
The birds - known as Magellanic Penguins - were migrating north from Argentina in search of food in warmer waters, they said.
They normally take the journey between March and September.
Washed up: The birds washed up between the towns of Tramandai and Cidreira, around 60 miles from the state capital, Porto Alegre
The Porto Alegre University was examining around 30 of the dead animals.
Similar incidents have occurred in the past and been blamed on shifting ocean currents and colder temperatures.
Last week, dozens of young penguins were rescued from beaches in Rio de Janeiro after straying far beyond their normal range.
Brazil's environment agency is preparing to fly those birds back to the south.
The penguins' diet consists mainly of small fish and crustaceans and their main enemy is the sea lion.