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Killing of Endangered Penguins Causes Public Outrage

Killing of Endangered Penguins Causes Public Outrage
February 18
14:32 2013

Eight months of severe animal cruelty has been brought to light by a public protest in Algarrobo, Chile.

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The endangered species usually enjoys human protection. Photo: ?uncan via photopin (cc)

ALGARROBO — The endangered Humboldt penguin has long enjoyed the protection of nature reserves and sanctuaries reserved for animals in danger of extinction. However, a local protest by residents of Algarrobo has uncovered eight months of systematic violence towards the birds in one such reserve in Isla Pájaros Niños. Public authorities share residents’ outrage at the mass killings of the local birds.

Mayor Jaime Gálvez states that a complaint has already been filed against those responsible for the grave mistreatment of the animals. Although complaints and reports of the problem have been made for eight months, the recent protest has raised awareness of the scandal on a national scale.

An anonymous report was made to Sernapesca, the national fishing service, who have denounced the crime to public prosecutors. In this report, local company Náutica del Pacífico is named responsible.

The company specializes in sailing in the Algarrobo area, the biggest water-sports area in the eastern Pacific. Police are still investigating the case, and the mayor cannot yet say for certain which individuals participated in the violence.

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The nature reserve works hard to care for the young penguins, recently targeted by the violence. Photo: tim ellis via photopin (cc)

Another anonymous individual from yet unproven ‘the responsible company’ reported to Chilean television channel Canal 24h that workers were given clear instructions to break eggs that were still in the nests of the Humboldt penguins. They say that despite knowing that they were breaking the law by killing animals in a nature reserve, “one receives instructions and carries them out”.

The reason given for such instructions was “the bad smell the penguins create in the resort”. It details that the penguins’ chicks were killed by being kicked, trodden on or hit with spades.

Locals can hope that the penguins will no longer be in such danger, as police and local authorities continue to investigate the case.

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