Mass penguin deaths in New Zealand because of climate change

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A wake-up-call as mass penguin deaths in New Zealand because of climate change.

Hundreds of dead little blue penguins that have washed up on New Zealand beaches this year, attributed to starvation and extreme sea conditions.

New Zealand’s Department of Conservation has received more than 58 calls of little penguins washing up on the shores of Omaha Beach and Tawharanui Peninsula.

All of the penguins were emaciated, a clear sign of starvation. Analysis by a team at Massey University showed that most of the penguins had depleted their fat reserves and were beginning to digest muscle. – New Zealand Herald.

Dr. Karen Baird, forest and bird expert said “It’s a wake-up call that we can’t expect always to have penguins, unless we start to think more about how we can actively manage them,”

This mass starvation is because of freak weather patterns driven by climate change. This resulted in a lack of food for baby penguins after their moulting. Which is the process when birds shed their feathers to make room for new growth.

“These birds starved after experiencing a series of severe weather events, which may have prevented them from feeding, and these results may also explain the deaths of many hundreds of other little penguins around northern New Zealand,” Baird said.

The scientists at the Department of Conservation said that the debilitating heat wave was so extreme that it goes beyond predictions for 2050, suggesting that the climate change is intensifying climatic patterns more deeply than previously thought.

Hundreds of other animals, including shearwaters, petrels, fair prions, and shags, washed on shores in recent weeks as well, additional casualties of the heat wave and storms.

Read the original Article from the NZ Herald.