Rio de Janeiro, Dec 7 (EFE).- More than 6,700 penguins have arrived on Brazil’s coast during the migration season this year, a 20 percent increase in the number of such birds coming to the southern coast last year, according to figures released Tuesday by the environmental project monitoring and looking out for penguins in the South American giant.
Annually, thousands of these flightless marine birds arrive on the Brazilian coastline coming from Argentina and Chile. In all, a total of 6,747 birds have been registered on assorted Brazilian beaches so far this season.
The figures come from the Beach Monitoring Project (PMP), an environmental program coordinated by Brazil’s state-run Petrobras petroleum company that has as its aim rescuing, rehabilitating and returning to the sea mammals, tortoises and marine birds and monitoring the 3,000 kilometers (some 1,900 miles) of beaches in 10 Brazilian coastal states.
Santa Catarina is the state where the most penguins have been noted, a total of 4,741 of them reported so far this year, followed by Parana, with 1,028 birds, both regions being in southern Brazil.
Nevertheless, these birds have also arrived on the beaches of Sao Paulo (869), Rio de Janeiro (107) and Espiritu Santo (2), which are located farther north and more in the central portion of Brazil’s Atlantic coastline.
The animals found so far are Magellanic penguins (Spheniscus magellanicus), which is very common in Argentina and Chile’s Patagonia region, as well as in the Falkland Islands, also known as the Malvinas, and which between June and November, especially during the Southern Hemisphere’s winter, migrate toward the Brazilian coast to flee frigid temperatures farther south and to find food.
Many of the birds arrive on the coastline weakened or even dead due to the long journeys they make and those that are found alive are evaluated and, if necessary, handed over to specialized centers to provide them with veterinary attention.
According to the PMP, the penguins usually arrive at the treatment units suffering from hypothermia, hypoglycemia and dehydration.
After they are rehabilitated, the birds are returned to their natural habitat after having a microchip implanted that will allow them to be monitored if they reappear on the Brazilian coast in the future.
Last year, 5,657 penguins were found to have visited the Brazilian coastline during the yearly migration.