Ahh, this is heartbreaking!
Photo via Twitter (@nzherald)
Recently, The Guardian reported that hundreds of Little Penguins, the world’s tiniest penguins and native to New Zealand have washed ashore, on the island’s beaches.
In the past week, locals have seen their carcasses wash ashore, and recently came across 183 penguins on Ninety Mile Beach in June.
In May, 109 dead penguins were found at the same beach and another 40 were found at another beach in mid-May. How sad!
A principal science advisor from New Zealand’s Department of Conservation (DOC) who studies sea birds, Graeme Taylor believes that over 500 dead penguins have washed up since the start of May this year.
Taylor shared that necropsies on the dead penguins indicated starvation and hypothermia.
However, these mass die-offs of little penguins in New Zealand are not new and are to be expected. According to a report by the DOC, “some level of mortality of little penguins is natural.”
This is due to the La Niña, a weather phenomenon that brings warmer waters in the ocean to New Zealand, and the penguins might find that food is more scarce as fish stay in cooler waters, which means that dead penguins can start turning up on beaches as early as November.
Similar incidents have happened in New Zealand in 1974, 1985, and 1998.
By: Aishah Akashah Ahadiat