The carcasses of at least 100 oil coated penguins have washed up on the shores of Patagonia in southern Argentina from the Straits of Magellan in recent weeks.
Many of the dead birds were discovered at a nature reserve in Cabo Virgenes, located about 2,400 kilometers south of the capital city of Buenos Aires.
About 100 surviving penguins have been taken to nearby care centers so rescue workers can clean them. Oil can damage a penguin's feathers, which insulates them from the frigid Arctic temperatures.
Because they can not dive for fish in cold waters, they stay on shore and eventually starve to death.
Maritime authorities in Argentina have launched an investigation to determine if there have been any oil spills from any of the dozens of platforms or tankers that operate in the area.
The penguins live in the Strait of Magellan, a body of water that separates South America from Tierra del Fuego and other islands south of the continent.
They migrate thousands of kilometers north from Antarctica each year from September through the end of April to breed.