Uruguayan marine life protection organizations have come across an unexpected number of juvenile penguins on their annual transit to less frigid waters in neighboring southern Brazil.
According to Richard Tesore founder and head of SOS, Rescue of Marine Fauna, who has several conservation hubs along some 300 kilometers of the Uruguayan coast, what is surprising is that the Magellan penguins stranded are not adults, and have started their first annual migration from Patagonia two months earlier, since this normally happens in May.
I have contacted colleagues in Patagonia and they tell me that since it has been a plentiful food year for penguins, many of the couples effectively incubated the two eggs, instead of one as normally happens, causing an over population of chicks. And many of them end in the water before having completed their feathers' overcoat which seals and protects them from water and hypothermia, explained Tesore.
Likewise the juvenile penguins swim closer to the coast and are more exposed to contamination and fishing nets, he added.
The recovery of penguins demands a treatment with a saline solution and a multivitamins shock, feed them and look after their injuries. If all works nicely once they recovered their expected weight, some four kilos, and have their full feathers protection, they can return to their migration, a process that normally takes some three weeks.
Anyhow Tesore has made some recommendations if coming across a penguin in the beach, Do not return him to the sea; Keep domestic animals and pets away; Do not feed them or give them water; Do not wet them; Get in touch with SOS Rescue Marine Fauna, Do not touch or move them before consulting with vets. If necessary, wrap him with a clean dry towel covering his eyes to avoid unnecessary stress; If injured or with elements stuck in the body wait for the vets or specialized personnel. Remember to take a picture of the penguin's condition when first found along the coast.