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Magellanic penguin chicks dying from climate change, study says

By Kyle Johnson,

A study has found that a Magellanic penguin population in Argentina is declining allegedly because of climate change.

The study published in the journal PLOS ONE has found that the population is declining because the chicks are being killed off due to changes in their environment due to climate change, reports The New York Times.

The colony in Punta Tombo, Argentina is the largest in the world for Magellanic penguins, with there being about 200,000 breeding pairs, but numbers have been falling.

The chicks, who are already fighting against starvation and predators, are being exposed to more rainfall as well as heat. Lead author P. Dee Boersma, of the University of Washington, noted, "And those are two new causes."

The researchers for the study watched about 3,500 chicks being born and followed their lives. "We knew when each chick hatched, and its fate," Boersma noted.

The change in weather because of climate change has lead the study to notice that the increased rain leaves the chicks at a distinct disadvantage because they have yet to develop waterproof wings, leaving them vulnerable to hypothermia, notes the Guardian Liberty Voice.

The researchers have been compiling data for 27 years and noted that about 65 percent of chicks died every year, with many from starvation. They believe that climate change has led to an additional 7 percent dying than normal, with some years the percentage jumping up to 43 percent.

image: Wikimedia Commons

 
 

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