Wildlife

Earth Report

Thousands of Female Penguins Are Being Stranded in South America

Female Magellanic penguins — a mid-size species of black-and-white bird native to South America’s Patagonia region are vanishing from their nests. When not breeding in the latter part of the year, both male and female members of the species migrate north toward Uruguay and Brazil to hunt for the tasty anchovies that call those waters home. Over the last decade, however, scientists have observed an upsetting trend: some penguins are swimming too far north — sometimes hundreds of miles away from their breeding grounds — and getting stuck there.

According to a new study published today in the journal Current Biology, every year, thousands of Magellanic penguins fail to return home from their migrations. Some become stranded on the shores of Uruguay, Argentina and Brazil. Others wash up already dead, their stomachs empty or polluted with plastic waste. Strangely, about…

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