Penguin Found Dead on Beach After Swallowing Face Mask

Seemingly, the poor penguin mistook the mask for food.
Fabienne Lang
Penguin and the mask from inside its stomachDivulgação/Instituto Argonauta

Face masks have become all the rage around the world, and it's great that they have. What's not so great, however, is when they're not disposed of properly.

In an unfortunate, but seen all-too-often, turn of events, a penguin in Brazil has most likely been a victim of human disregard.

Discovered dead on September 9 on Juquei Beach in Brazil, the Magellanic penguin was found to have ingested a face mask following an autopsy by the Instituto Argonauta, the coastal and marine conservation NGO that found the penguin.


Near-threatened species

The institute stated (in Portuguese) that it had found the penguin washed up on the beach and that it was very thin and covered in sand. Following its autopsy, the team discovered an N95 mask in its stomach, which it most likely mistook for food. 

It's believed that the mask had been discarded by beachgoers on a bank holiday that saw many locals venturing to beaches and outdoor areas. 

Penguin Found Dead on Beach After Swallowing Face Mask
The mask found inside the penguin's stomach. Source: Divulgação/Instituto Argonauta

As per the institute's Facebook page, the team explained, "The consequences of the large number of people who frequented the beaches of Sao Paulo's north coast on the 7th September bank holiday have not ended and, this time, may have cost the life of a Magellan penguin, whose cause of death is linked to a mask that was found inside its stomach."

If the news wasn't sad enough, the Magellanic penguin is a near-threatened species that migrates from Argentine Patagonia in search of food each year. 

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Penguin Found Dead on Beach After Swallowing Face Mask
One of Brazil's beaches that was highly littered during the recent bank holiday. SourceDivulgação/Instituto Argonauta

This is a clear demonstration of how we as humans need to be more careful with our litter. There have been countless instances where human actions have hurt animals and the environment. Currently, most countries are pushing the use of face masks; however, we must remember to get rid of them properly if we wish to minimize our impact on nature. 

And if you litter and live near this National Park, it'll send it all right back to your doorstep! So watch out.