Wayward Penguins Invade Rio's Beaches
Discovery Earth Alert, August 10, 2000
At least 114 off-course penguins and one seal showed up on Brazil's tropical beaches of Rio de Janeiro on Tuesday, nearly 3,000 miles from their usual winter home in the Strait of Magellan and the coasts of Patagonia, Argentina's southernmost province. Their presence startled sun bathers, but alarmed wildlife experts. Denise Monsares, the biologist with the foundation Rio Zoo, said, "Despite the relatively cold winter in Rio, it's definitely too warm for the penguins and other animals" from further south. Temperatures on the beaches hovered at 82 degrees Fahrenheit. Monsares said the birds had probably been thrown off course by unusually cold ocean currents and strong winds during the past weeks. Most of the penguins landed exhausted and with injuries. Although they were taken to zoos in Rio for treatment, Monsares reported that the facilities were nearly at capacity. There were no immediate reports as to the condition of the seal.