When i was in Argentinean Patagonia in January our host at the Estancia Monte Leon (by the way one of the most gorgeous places i have ever stayed in my life, totally worth the hefty price tag) told us that the penguins who hang out at the beach there in order to raise their kids would go all the way up to Rio in the (southern hemisphere) winter as they find patagonia to cold during that time of the year.
While i can see that Patagonia might be a little bit too cold in July i could not really picture penguins in Rio. Also i did not run into any Spheniscus Magellanicus down there (but then that is probably due to the fact that we did nose around in all the wrong places). A couple of days ago i ran into more anecdotal evidence that there are indeed penguins in Rio. This time in the form of someone blogging about migrants being washed up at the beaches of the canaries and penguins in Rio (which as the alert reader will notice are both subjects that have kept me busy in the past):
Penguins in Rio, abnormal concentrations of jellyfish in the Mediterranean coast, giant crabs invading Norway’s waters, Sub-Saharan immigrants stranding at the beaches of Canary islands in unhuman conditions surprising tourists… Nature claims… something is wrong with our world today… (from: extremo occidente
Seems like the author wishes to imply that the world is a bit out of control which does not seem totally wrong of an observation if you ask me.
update to the update: Looks like i should do my google reserach first. seems like while we did indeed see no penguins in Rio they have been there this summer. CBS reports that at least 135 showed up on the local beaches and are now being airlifted back to the southern Atlantic ocean in a heroic joint operation by the brazilian armed forces:
A Hercules C-130 transport airplane will take the flightless birds to Pelotas in southern Brazil on Sept. 23 for the first leg of their journey home, the Air Force’s press office said. There, they will be examined by veterinarians at the Marine Animal Rehabilitation Center of the Eliezer de Carvalho Rios Oceanographic Museum. From Pelotas, the penguins will be driven to the coast and placed on Navy ships. They will be taken 40 miles offshore before being released into the southern Atlantic. “Ocean currents will hopefully carry them back to their natural habitat,” Candiotto said. “If everything goes smoothly, the penguins should be back in Antarctica within 10 days after leaving Rio.”
According to the Guardian, Rio became a popular destination for penguins in 2001 or so. in that year they published a first article on penguins in rio and linked it to global warming (isn’t it refreshing to see that in the summer of 2001 the press could still explain strange things in other ways than blaming terrorists for them?). The article does contain absolute gems on how ordinary brazilians behave when suddenly confronted with penguins on their doorstep:
… some are being kept as pets by Brazilian fishermen, who feed them sardines and even walk them on a leash. [.. but also one would not expect] how many people put these penguins in freezers when they rescue them …
Regardless of this update the conclusion remains more or less the same. the world seems to be a bit out of control.