A landowner in the town of Punta Tombo in the Argentine Province of Chubut is to be prosecuted under the Law of Cruelk Treatment Against Animals after crushing several penguin nests and electrocuting over a hundred of the birds living at the local natural wildlife reserve some 110 kilometres south from Rawson, the provincial capital.
According to specialists, penguins are born around this time of the year. hence, the damage caused to the local fauna is irreparable, it was reported.
Chubut's Ministry of Tourism has filed criminal charges against a Punta Tombo resident who built an unauthorized path crossing the entire countryside all the way to the sea shore, destroying over 140 nests along its way. In addition to that, he installed an electricity wiring, which killed hundreds of adult birds asa well.
The owner of the property bordering the Punta Tombo Natural Reserve used heavy machinery which crushed the nests, where on average three eggs are laid.
Prosecutor Florencia Gómez, explained that the perpetrator buried all the nests of penguin chicks, in an area of high density.
”We believe (the intention) was to have direct access to the coast, but for that it would have been necessary to have a prior authorization and a study to analyze the environmental impact. Hence the irreparable damage, Gómez stressed.
The state attorney also explained that the fence was electrified, which caused many adult penguins to die by electrocution.”
The perpetrator is to be charged under the animal abuse law, although other additional counts may be filed, depending on what the forensic canvassing of the property yields.
Wildlife guards of the reserve were on an expedition when they spotted hundreds of crushed nests and dead penguins. The road, which extended from the property to the coast, was made without authorization and with a tall machine. Those same guards were to join CSI units inspecting the area for further evidence.
Punta Tombo is a natural habitat to Magellanic penguins.
According to Law 14346, the perpetrator faces up to one year in jail for his acts of cruelty against the animals.
The Punta Tombo reserve, with a surface of 210 hectares, becomes the most populated on the continent with more than a million penguins when the family is complete. Other seabirds also live in the area, such as cormorants, kelp gulls, southern gulls, terns, skuas and oystercatchers; as well as mammals such as guanacos, maras, foxes, piches and furry and other scavengers lured by the eggs.