Pity the Plight of the Poor Patagonian Penguins

Randall Hoven
Almost exactly two years ago I noted the journalistic attention being paid the poor penguins of Patagonia.


"Hundreds of baby penguins swept from the icy shores of Antarctica and Patagonia are washing up dead on Rio de Janeiro's tropical beaches."

Well, they're back.  (Not the dead ones from two years ago; new ones.)  The Associated Press's headline:  "Hundreds of dead penguins dot Brazil's beaches."  (What's black and white and dotted all over?)In 2008, the plight of the penguins was being blamed on (cue Jeopardy music)... global warming.

"Hundreds of half-starved penguins, many bearing the scars of shark bites, have been waddling ashore on some of the world's most famous tropical beaches -- and experts suspect it could be the result of global warming."


What do the experts suspect this time?

"Scientists are investigating whether strong currents and colder-than-normal waters have hurt populations of the species that make up the penguins' diet..."

Say that again?  "Colder-than-normal waters."  Colder.  Than.  Normal.

Oh my.  How can that be?  Isn't everything everywhere getting warmer?  Well, Antarctica isn't, apparently.  Its sea ice just seems to keep growing.  That's right, the polar ice cap is growing.  (The southern one, that is -- one of the two on the planet.)

But rest assured, scientists are also investigating "whether human activity may be playing a role."  That's more like it.  Maybe we can still blame Bush/Cheney/Halliburton somehow.  I mean, baby penguins are dying; Cheney must have something to do with it.
Almost exactly two years ago I noted the journalistic attention being paid the poor penguins of Patagonia.


"Hundreds of baby penguins swept from the icy shores of Antarctica and Patagonia are washing up dead on Rio de Janeiro's tropical beaches."

Well, they're back.  (Not the dead ones from two years ago; new ones.)  The Associated Press's headline:  "Hundreds of dead penguins dot Brazil's beaches."  (What's black and white and dotted all over?)In 2008, the plight of the penguins was being blamed on (cue Jeopardy music)... global warming.

"Hundreds of half-starved penguins, many bearing the scars of shark bites, have been waddling ashore on some of the world's most famous tropical beaches -- and experts suspect it could be the result of global warming."


What do the experts suspect this time?

"Scientists are investigating whether strong currents and colder-than-normal waters have hurt populations of the species that make up the penguins' diet..."

Say that again?  "Colder-than-normal waters."  Colder.  Than.  Normal.

Oh my.  How can that be?  Isn't everything everywhere getting warmer?  Well, Antarctica isn't, apparently.  Its sea ice just seems to keep growing.  That's right, the polar ice cap is growing.  (The southern one, that is -- one of the two on the planet.)

But rest assured, scientists are also investigating "whether human activity may be playing a role."  That's more like it.  Maybe we can still blame Bush/Cheney/Halliburton somehow.  I mean, baby penguins are dying; Cheney must have something to do with it.