When parents don’t return in time

If you don’t want to feel depressed, stop reading now.

Because this is a post about a depressing story — and one that is likely to become more common as we deplete the oceans of  life.

This story is about the penguins of Phillip Island, an island south of Melbourne. It’s a popular tourist destination for the penguin parade — in which Little Penguins return to at dusk their nests.

Or at least that’s how it’s supposed to work.

Experts had forecast a record number of chicks this year, but things took a turn for the worse when the parents were unable to return in time to keep them fed. Says the article, half of a chicks have starved to death. Their parents, chasing an elusive fish population, were away for far too long.

Penguins have only a few days to go out and catch the food and return to their nests. It’s a fragile ritual, so easily disrupted. And although penguins can go fast and far, sometimes it isn’t far enough.

Of course, there is no proof that the fishing industry is to blame. There is never any proof. Perhaps this was a simple matter of fish migration. Or ocean temperatures changing — also a threat to penguins.

But all that really matters is that the parents didn’t return in time. As the naturalist said, “It’s a bit like working in a hospital, you see it over and over again and yeah, you do get upset.”

So do I.

Source: Penguins News Today

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