(NaturalNews) The string of strange phenomena involving animal injuries and deaths has once again gotten longer, as new reports emerge about a new mystery disease afflicting Atlantic penguins. According to researchers from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), "feather-loss disorder" causes penguins to lose their feathers and become "naked." Many of these same birds also end up displaying erratic behavior, which includes inadvertently baking themselves to death in direct sunlight while the healthy penguins seek shelter.
"We need to conduct further study to determine the cause of the disorder and if this is in fact spreading to other penguin species," said Dee Boersma, an expert from WCS. The team suspects that contaminants, nutrient imbalances, and even thyroid disorders might all play a role in the disease's spread, as well as in the overall decline of penguin health.
Whatever the specific cause of feather-loss disorder, it is clear that various environmental factors including pollution, spilled oil, and toxic chemicals are most likely to blame. Fluoride, for instance, is known to cause thyroid disorders, and tons of fluoride residues likely make their way into the ocean every single year. The BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico sent nearly five million barrels worth of crude oil into ocean water, destroying animal life in the immediate area and ultimately affecting oceanic ecosystems all around the world.
Meanwhile, tens of thousands of penguins on a series of remote islands near Cape Town, South Africa, are threatened by a recent shipwreck-induced oil spill. Rescue workers have been feverishly trying to save those penguins by helping them escape the polluted area.