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More than thousand penguins found dead in Antarctica, bird flu suspected

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HT Digital,

Antarctica, April 5: Researchers are probing the possibility of a bird flu outbreak among penguins in Antarctica, with hundreds, possibly thousands, feared dead. The Federation University Australia reports finding over 532 deceased Adelie penguins, with projections indicating a potential death toll in the thousands.

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While the lethal H5N1 bird flu virus is suspected, initial test results are inconclusive. The samples are under laboratory analysis, with results expected in the coming months. Wildlife biologist Meagan Dewar from Federation University stresses the potential risk to penguins and other wildlife, already battling climate change.

The deceased penguins were found frozen on Heroina Island. The H5 strain of bird flu was also found on the Antarctic peninsula and three adjacent islands. The situation is worrisome given the impact of climate change on penguin populations.

Emperor penguins are particularly vulnerable, with predictions of near-extinction by the end of the century.

The potential bird flu outbreak adds to the challenges faced by these penguins. Dewar warns of the impact of bird flu on emperor penguins in the upcoming breeding season, stressing the urgency to address this threat to Antarctic wildlife.

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