Last Saturday (7), during a monitoring carried out between the beaches of the cities of Passo de Torres and Araranguá, in Santa Catarina, the NGO Educamar found 59 dead penguins in the sands. According to biologist Suelen Santos, president and director of research at the organization, the amount is very high for a single day.

“Monitoring is carried out three times a week. For a single day, 59 is a very expressive number”, said Suelen, in an interview with Olhar Digital. "There was already, in 2018, a stranding with a high number of animals dying, however, it was during the entire migration season, which lasts 6 months."

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The appearance of penguins on the south coast of Brazil is quite common at this time of year. “Some end up dying, especially young people. It can be observed that, because they are inexperienced or in their first migration season, they get lost from the group, eventually running aground”, explains the biologist. "Others run aground still alive and, for lack of a stabilization center, end up dying, as they do not receive veterinary medical care."

According to Suelen, the extreme south of Santa Catarina is the only region where there are no centers of this type. “All other coastal parts of Brazil have fauna rescue,” he says. 

Biologist Suelen Santos is president and director of research at the NGO Educamar. Image: Educate

On Saturday's stranding, the NGO also detected the bodies of adult penguins. “These are not natural causes. Possibly, they died from human relationships - fishing, waste, climate change. Dead adults are a strong indicator of human causes in penguin death,” said Suelen.

The animals found are of the species Magellanic Penguin (Spheniscus magellanicus). Suelen explains that they migrate to the Brazilian coast from temperate regions such as Chile, Argentina and the Malvinas Islands, in search of food and warmer waters.

When someone finds a marine animal stranded in the sand, there are proper procedures to be taken. “You must not push it back into the water and it is not allowed to feed the animal. The correct thing is to keep your distance and get in touch with the responsible agency”, advises the biologist.

Learn more about the NGO Educamar, which found the penguins 

Composed of 12 members, including biologists, oceanographers, environmental engineer and environmental manager, the NGO Educamar has been operating since 2012 on the beaches of Santa Catarina.

NGO Educamar rescuing a 7,5m juvenile male humpback whale, which ran aground off the coast of Santa Catarina last month. Biological material was collected, and the animal was buried. Image: Educate

Several actions are developed by the institution, such as cleaning efforts, environmental education in schools, monitoring and scientific research. “The NGO Educamar is the institution licensed by the Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation (ICMBIo) to carry out monitoring, research and rescue of marine animals between the stretches of Araranguá and Passo de Torres”, explains the organization's president. “It is voluntary work and without government resources”. 

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Service impaired due to lack of support for displacement

According to Suelen, the movement to the nearest stabilization center, which is about 100 km away, was carried out by the Environmental Military Police (PMA).

Recently, an agreement signed between the PMA and the Environment Institute (IMA) established that the IMA is responsible for managing and managing the rescue of terrestrial fauna. “This ended up harming the displacement of marine animals that need assistance in the south of the state, as the IMA has no way of carrying out the rescue logistics there, since it is even further away than we are. So, we are facing a lot of difficulties, and many animals die due to lack of care”, laments Suelen. "It is necessary to resolve this situation with these bodies and also that a place be provided here in this region so that these animals can be cared for and received."

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