May 30, 2024

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More than 500 penguins were found dead in Antarctica and were investigated for possible bird flu infection Reuters

500 羽余の死骸発見、鳥インフル疑いで調査

More than 500 Adelie penguins have been found dead in Antarctica, and scientists are investigating the cause, with the possibility of bird flu. It is feared that thousands more may have died. The photo shows Chilean researchers conducting a survey in Antarctica in March. Provided photo (2024 Reuters/Instituto Antartico Chileno)

[4日 ロイター] – More than 500 Adelie penguins have been found dead in Antarctica, and scientists are investigating the cause, with the possibility of bird flu. It is feared that thousands more may have died.

Australia's Federation University said it discovered at least 532 dead Adelie penguins during a scientific expedition last month. Although the H5N1 avian influenza virus is suspected, tests at the site were inconclusive, so samples will be sent to a research facility with results expected within a few months.

The H5N1 avian influenza virus has been spreading among wild animals since its arrival in South America in 2022, and infection was first confirmed in Antarctica in February. See more

Adelie penguins have been found dead on Heroina Island, but the survey was unable to count all the bodies, said Megan Dewar, a wildlife biologist at Union University. However, it is estimated that thousands of birds died over several weeks to months.

Approximately 280,000 Adelie penguins breed on the island each year, and according to British research expeditions, approximately 20 million pairs of penguins breed in Antarctica each year.

Dewar expressed concern that the emperor penguin, which is threatened with extinction by the end of the century, “may be affected by next spring.”

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Jake Spring reports primarily on forests, climate diplomacy, carbon markets and climate science. Based in Brazil, his investigative reporting on the destruction of the Amazon rainforest under former President Jair Bolsonaro won the 2021 Latin American Best Reporting Award from the Foreign Press Club of America (https://opcofamerica.org/Awardarchive/the-robert-spiers-Benjamin- Award-2021/). His successful reporting on environmental devastation in Brazil won a Covering Climate Now award and was honored by the Society of Environmental Journalists. He joined Reuters in 2014 in China, where he previously served as editor-in-chief of the China Economic Review. He is fluent in Mandarin Chinese and Brazilian Portuguese.