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Penguins Washing Up in the Tropics

Image: Francisco de Assis holds up a penguin at the Porto da Lenha beach in Salvador, northeastern Brazil, July 25, 2008. Brazilian wildlife authorities confirmed that about 300 penguins have been found dead or alive in recent days along the coast of Bahia state, better known for sunbathers in bikinis than for seabirds native to Antarctica and Patagonia. (AP Photo/Arestides Baptista, A Tarde via Agencia O Globo)

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (AP) — Penguins from frigid waters near the bottom of the world are washing up closer to the equator than ever before, Brazilian wildlife authorities said Wednesday.

Adelson Cerqueira Silva of the federal environmental agency said that about 300 penguins have been found dead or alive in recent days along the coast of Bahia state, better known for sunbathers in bikinis than for seabirds native to Antarctica and Patagonia.

Its capital of Salvador is roughly 600 miles (1,000 kilometers) closer to the equator than Miami is and temperatures in the current Southern Hemisphere winter are in the mid-70s (low 20s centigrade).

"This is unheard of. There have even been reports of penguins washing up as far as Aracaju," Silva said, referring to a beachside state capital even closer to the equator.

Silva said biologists believe stronger-than-usual ocean currents have pulled the birds north.

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