Penguins Malaria Deaths In London - Could It Be Climate Change?
Penguins at London Zoo have been struck by a deadly strain of malaria that has killed six of the birds.
The outbreak is being put down to the exceptionally wet and muggy summer which created perfect conditions for mosquitoes which spread the disease.
Ben Sheldon, Professor of Ornithology at Oxford University said: “Avian malaria has been in the UK for centuries. Some birds seem largely unaffected by it and in others it causes high rates of death.
“Penguins come from a part of the world where they wouldn’t have been exposed to malaria. They haven’t had a chance to evolve resistance to it.
“Just like with human malaria the most effective way of controlling it is to stop mosquitoes biting. But we don’t have an equivalent of a bed net for penguins.”
Some people have claimed there has been a rise in avian malaria in recent years due to climate change. But Professor Sheldon said there is not enough evidence to justify these claims.