A mass die-off of seabirds along Mexico's Pacific coast is due to food shortages, experts say. According to the Latin American country's Ministry of Agriculture, increased water temperatures as a result of the "El Niño" climate phenomenon are probably responsible. Bird flu has been ruled out as the cause of bird deaths.
El Niño and its counterpart La Niña favor extreme weather in many regions of the world. El Niño drives up the average global temperature, while La Niña has a cooling effect. They appear alternately every few years.
Higher water temperatures are causing fish to dive deeper into cooler waters, preventing seabirds from feeding, the ministry said in a statement. Investigations and collection of biological samples are ongoing.
Hundreds of dead seabirds had washed up on Mexico's Pacific coast between the northwestern state of Baja California and Chiapas in the south in the past few weeks. These were mainly shearwaters, but also gulls and pelicans.