NASA satellites have discovered a huge colony of Adélie penguins off the Antarctic Peninsula, and it could be the biggest find of the year. The presence of penguins on the remote Danger Islands was confirmed after NASA satellites captured a massive poop trail (patch). Boiling with 1.5 million Adélie penguins, this settlement exceed the rest of Antarctic Peninsula combined. Scientists have confirmed that since 1959 this location on Danger Island has been inhabited by Adélie penguins.
As a matter of fact, between 2010 and 2017, thousands of Adélie penguin chicks died. It was deemed by French scientists as the ‘catastrophic breeding failure’ caused by unusually thick sea ice, which made their parents hunt for more food and a failure in this pursuit resulted in their death. From the early 2017 breeding season, only 2 out of 18,000 pairs of Adelie penguins survived in East Antarctica.
The released images of penguins prompted Oxford University’s Dr. Tom Hart and a group of scientists to arrange an expedition to this place on Antarctica. Dr. Hart told The Telegraph “This is the biggest colony discovered recently. It is a huge number of penguins.”
Prof. Lynch of the research team believes that this massive settlement of penguins went undetected because of the remoteness of the islands and treacherous surroundings off the northern tip of the peninsula.
“The weirdest, most surprising and incredible thing is that, in this day and age, something so big can go unseen. They have been missed because they are hard to get to. They really have been overlooked.
“If you were to convey it to someone who had not seen them, it was like the biggest crowd you could ever see made up of hundreds of thousands of penguins. It was very much like the great migrations in Africa you see on the television.”
After a group of scientists reached the Danger Islands and took a survey, they found out that in total 7,51,527 pairs of Adélie penguins exist there, which also includes third and fourth largest colonies in the world.
This news comes as a respite when all we have been documenting is the decline in the number of penguins, particularly on its western side. Scientists speculate that the decline is because of the reduction in the level of sea-ice, which is a great habitat for krill – the small crustaceans that make a key food for penguins.
Last summer, the news from Somerset Island, near the larger Baffin Island created headlines. It was here that Paul Nicklen along with his group of filmmakers from conservation group Sea Legacy came across a heartbreaking sight: a starving polar bear on its deathbed. The world mourned that day and came across the harsh reality of the depleting polar life. Watch the heart-wrenching video form SeaLegacy here:
Here’s a glimpse of the drool-worthy Insta gallery of Paul Nicklen
Owing to the climatic change, Adélie penguins have suffered a major decline in their population. This tremendous discovery comes nothing less than a joyous surprise. In these critical times when the life at poles is constantly under threat because of the rapid climate change, let’s pledge to conserve the planet.