Stranded Brazil penguins returned to sea

October 5th, 2008 - 9:05 am ICT by IANS  

Rio de Janeiro, Oct 5 (IANS) Around 300 penguins marooned on the Brazilian beaches for past few months have been returned to the sea by conservationists, hoping that they would find their way back home in Patagonia, Spain’s EFE reported.These Magellan penguins had landed on the beaches in northeastern Brazil after strong ocean currents displaced them from their habitat.

The state-run Brazilian environmental institute Ibama said that the birds were released off the coast of southern state of Rio Grande do Sul, near the Uruguayan border.

On Friday, stranded penguins from Salvador and Victoria were transported to the Rehabilitation Centre for Marine Animals (CRAM) on the coast of Rio Grande do Sul, for release, Ibama said.

Hundreds of penguins had arrived on the Brazilian coast, fatigued and hungry, after travelling thousands of kilometres during the southern hemisphere winter, the report said.

Experts said the birds might have been displaced due to factors like global warming, decreasing fish stocks and oil pollution.

Ibama said around 1,000 stranded penguins on the Bahia beach in Salvador have been already rescued over the past few months. Many birds had received treatment at the Salvador Institute for Aquatic Animals, before release.

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