Magellanic penguins’ mysterious disease

This video says about itself:

The Penguins of Punta Tombo

Dr. Dee Boersma gives a tour of her work site on the coast of Patagonia, describing the talkative birds we know and love, how they help us, and how we can help them.

From the Wildlife Conservation Society in the USA:

Help Save Penguins From New Dangers

Penguin chicks are facing a new threat – stunted growth or even death brought on by a mysterious feather-loss epidemic. A recently released report, co-authored by WCS scientist Dee Boersma, details the severity of this new disorder.

WCS scientists have a plan to pinpoint the cause and find a solution, but they can’t do it without your help.

Participants in the third annual Run for the Wild at the Bronx Zoo are raising money to help save penguins, and now is your chance to help make sure that these loving birds of the wild have a future.

Please support WCS’s work to save penguins and other imperiled species.

Sexual differences in the foraging behaviour of Magellanic Penguins related to stage of breeding: here.

Artificial nests enhance the breeding productivity of African Penguins (Spheniscus demersus) on Robben Island, South Africa: here.

May 2011: Ninety-four juvenile African penguins are being ferried off Bird Island, part of South Africa’s Addo Elephant National Park, to ensure their survival after their condition deteriorated.

May 2011: Blue penguins that washed up on the East Coast beaches of New Zealand last month died from starvation and exposure according to post-mortem results: here.

Female Magellanic penguins are more likely to die at sea as juveniles, which has caused a skewed sex ratio of nearly three adult males to every female, as well as population decline of more than 40 percent since 1987 at one of their largest breeding colonies — Punta Tombo in Argentina: here.

9 thoughts on “Magellanic penguins’ mysterious disease

  1. Minister suspends use of tear gas

    Chile: Interior Minister Rodrigo Hinzpeter announced today that the government had suspended the use of tear gar by police to disperse protests.

    The decision was made after police fired tear gas into crowds of people in Concepcion protesting against a proposed dam in Patagonia, injuring one protester in the eye.

    Mr Hinzpeter said the government was awaiting medical reports that could “clarify beyond any doubts” the safety of using tear gas in situations of “public disorder or vandalism.”


  2. Thousands Run to Save Penguins


    At the WCS Run for the Wild in April, some 6,500 runners and walkers raised money to support WCS’s work to save Magellanic penguins and other imperiled wildlife around the globe. The event was a “wild” success, with participants raising more than $350,000!

    Penguins need all the help they can get. These tuxedoed birds are too often struggling to survive due to pollution, overfishing, and climate change. Recently they’ve also been plagued by a mysterious feather-loss syndrome that leaves chicks without their insulating coats for several weeks, decreasing their chances to grow into healthy adults.

    But WCS researcher Dee Boersma is happy to report that the penguins of Punta Tombo, Argentina – the world’s largest colony of Magellanics – are out to sea until early September. And because the region experienced a warm spell earlier this year, many of the featherless chicks managed to survive, eventually growing in their juvenile plumes before leaving shore.


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