Some have blamed chemical contamination for the deaths.
But the director of Uruguay’s National Aquatic Resources Administration said that since most of the dead penguins were juveniles, he believes the fatalities were due to natural causes.
Daniel Gilardoni told reporters that “if it had been intoxication, the dead penguins should have been of all ages and sex, but that is not the case.”
Gilardoni also said that almost a million penguins migrate along the country’s Atlantic coast each year, including more than 500,000 juveniles.
Other experts say it is common for dead penguins to appear in the area at this time of year, but the extent of the die-off this season appears to be unusual.
Photos: Dirección Nacional de Recursos Acuáticos