Bodies of these 70 penguins have been found dead on two neighbouring Brazilian beaches after they apparently drowned after becoming caught in fishing nets.
The penguins were found on the Santinho and Mocambique beaches in the city of Florianopolis in the southeastern Brazilian state of Santa Catarina by the R3 Animal Association.
The Magellanic penguins (Spheniscus magellanicus) were found with marks on their flippers which the association said suggests they had been trapped in a fishing net.
One of the penguins reportedly had a fragment of fishing net still stuck to its body, and all 70 have been taken to the Centre of Research, Rehabilitations and Depetrolisation of Marine Animals for an autopsy.
One penguin was found alive on Mocambique Beach and was taken to the centre for rehabilitation.
Veterinarian Janaina Rocha Lorenco said the preliminary analysis shows that the penguins may have been trapped in fishing nets because of the lack of feathers on their flippers, generalised congestion and other signs that they had been trapped in a net and had been trying to free themselves.
The penguins are typically seen in the area at this time of year as they migrate from the Patagonia area in southern Argentina.
R3 Animal explained to Newsflash that they are one of the institutions which carry out the Monitoring Project of the Santos Basin Beaches.
They told Newsflash: “We monitor the beaches on the island [of Santa Catarina where Florianopolis is located] in search of dead or weak marine animals. The dead animals undergo examination to determine the cause of death, and the living animals are rehabilitated before being released.”
The group explained to Newsflash that the monitoring is one of the environmental conditions put in place when licencing for the exploration of possible oil and gas reserves in the Santos Basin.