Sao Paulo – The death of a penguin after ingesting an N95 mask in Brazil has raised the concern of environmentalists about the growing increase in the “residues of the pandemic” of the new coronavirus, which pose a new threat to the increasingly vulnerable marine fauna .
The penguin was found dead a week ago on Juquehy beach, on the north coast of Sao Paulo, and was subjected to an autopsy by the NGO Argonauta Institute for Coastal and Marine Conservation, focused on the rehabilitation of marine species affected by the waste thrown into the sea.
During the procedure, a black mask model N95 was located inside the animal’s stomach, which was extremely weakened, as confirmed by the NGO on Wednesday.
The president of the Argonauta Institute, the oceanographer Hugo Gallo Neto, highlighted the problems that are being generated by the inappropriate disposal of waste, especially of what he described as “garbage from the pandemic.”
“For some time we have been finding masks, we have located about 135 at the moment, and the case of the penguin is the first of an animal that probably died from ingesting garbage from the pandemic,” Gallo said in statements to Efe.
The Magellanic penguins migrate every year from Argentine Patagonia in search of food, but some of them get lost from the group and end up being found on the beaches of Brazil.
“Animals are found during this period, often weak and lacking in care”, according to biologist Carla Beatriz Barbosa.
The animals that are found alive by the Institute are transferred to rehabilitation centers and later returned to the wild, while those that appear dead are subjected to a necropsy.
“It is a very serious problem and Brazil has an inefficient policy in combating the issue of garbage at sea. That happens because of a problem of education of the population, management, supervision and legislation by the public power, “he added.