Thursday, August 21, 2014

Penguins wash up dead at beach in Altona

MYSTERY surrounds the death of penguins that washed up on a beach at Altona overnight.
An investigation is underway after a walker noticed the bodies of 25 little penguins on the sand early this morning. Residents are on watch in case more penguins wash up when the tide changes.

Melbourne Zoo confirmed it was prepared to care for any live penguins found during the clean-up.
The penguins were found with their bodies intact, prompting confusion about the cause of death.
It’s not yet known which colony the penguins came from, but researchers from Earthcare St Kilda believe they were not part of the group from Phillip Island, which is home to the largest colony in the state.

Earthcare penguin researcher Zoe Hogg said she had never before found dead penguins with no markings to show how they had died. “They were in very good condition, apart from one of them which was a bit skinny,” Ms Hogg said. “I have absolutely no idea what happened to them.”

The animals’ bodies were collected by government environmental and fisheries officers, Hobsons Bay council staff and researchers. Scientists at the University of Melbourne and DEPI will conduct a post-mortem to determine what may have killed the birds. “This is a sad and very unfortunate event,” DEPI Port Phillip regional director Travis Dowling said.


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