A penguin considered rare due to its white color has been discovered in the Ecuadorian Galapagos archipelago, which has unique flora and fauna in the world, the National Park of the same name (PNG) announced on Thursday.
“In this case, it could be a genetic condition known as leucism, which produces a partial loss of pigmentation of the plumage or coat of animals, while maintaining the color of their eyes, which differentiates them from albinos,” explained PNG.
According to park technicians, they are also more resistant to sunlight. “But only genetic analyses could confirm the diagnosis,” the park said, adding that cases of albinism or leucism in sharks, geckos and birds, among other species, were recorded in the Galapagos, being the first record of a penguin with this condition.
The rare penguin was spotted a week ago by guide Jimmy Patiño, in the north of the Isabela Island. Together with the Charles Darwin Foundation, he works on monitoring the Galapagos penguin population (Spheniscus mendiculos) in their nesting areas, where he controls the introduced species, to offer then the best survival conditions.
The last monitoring of the species showed its highest figure since 2006, which is why the population is considered healthy. It went from 1,451 animals in 2019 to 1,940 in 2020, PNG said.
The Galapagos penguin is one of the smallest varieties in the world, measuring up to 35 centimeters in height.
This article is available in: Português