1.5 Million Penguins Discovered on Remote Antarctic Islands

1.5 Million Penguins Discovered on Remote Antarctic Islands

Friday, 2 March, 2018 - 10:30
Adelie penguins in Antarctica. MARK RALSTON/AFP
Asharq Al-Awsat
A thriving hotspot of some 1.5 million Adelie penguins has been discovered on the remote Danger Islands in the east Antarctic, surprised scientists announced Friday.

Just 160 kilometers away in the west Antarctic, the same species is in decline due to sea ice melt blamed on global warming, they said.

The first complete census revealed that the Danger Islands host more than 750,000 breeding pairs of Adelie penguins, more than the rest of the Antarctic Peninsula region combined, the team reported in the journal Scientific Reports.

It included the third and fourth-largest Adelie penguin colonies in the world.

The find "is certainly surprising and it has real consequences for how we manage this region," study co-author Heather Lynch of Stony Brook University told AFP.

The islands, which lie at the tip of Antarctica nearest South America, have rarely been visited, and the new discovery was thanks to Earth-monitoring satellites, the team from America, Britain and France, said.

"This is called the Danger Islands for a reason," explained Lynch.

"The area is covered by heavy sea ice most of the year, and even in the height of summer it is difficult to get into this region to do surveys."

Editor Picks

Multimedia