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Number of penguins in Brazil on the rise

RIO DE JANEIRO, Oct. 3 (UPI) -- The number of penguins in Brazil has increased dramatically this year as more than 1,000 of the flightless birds have washed up on shore, experts say.

Oceanographer Lauro Barcellos said while traditionally at least a few penguins would make their way to Brazilian shores each year, 2008 has seen a dramatic rise as hundreds of the animals have been carried to Brazil by strong ocean currents, The Washington Post said Friday.

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"This year is completely anomalous," Barcellos said. "I've worked in this field for 35 years, and I have never seen anything like this."

Most of the penguins washing up on Brazilian shores are emaciated or deceased following the ocean journey, the Post reported.

Brazilian National Institute for Space Research climatologist Jose Marengo told the newspaper the changing trend represents yet another scientific mystery in regards to climate change.

"This is extreme, but we don't have statistics on the number of penguins and the ocean temperatures," the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change member said to the Post. "Some of the most important uncertainties we have are on the oceanic currents."

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