At least 2,000 birds were found dead on the beaches of central Chile this week.
The birds most likely got caught in fishermen’s nets and drowned, and then were thrown back into the sea by the fishermen, AFP reported.
“It’s a horrible scene. They are spread across some six kilometers of beach,” San Antonio natural history and archeology museum director Jose Luis Brito told UCV radio.
Carcasses of gray petrels, pelicans, gannets and cormorants stretch from Cartagena to Playa de Santo Domingo, reported Geekosystem.
Environmental groups blamed oil exploration work, according to the AFP report.
Earlier this month thousands of dolphins and pelicans were found dead in Peru, which neighbors Chile.
Scientists suspect the deaths were caused by warming ocean temperatures changing the marine ecosystem, the Washington Post reported.
When the water warms, anchovy the birds feed on seek out cooler, deeper waters around Chile. The birds follow the anchovy there and the influx of birds means more are likely to get caught in fishermen’s traps, Geekosystem explained. At the same time, the birds in Peru are starved for food.
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