Scientists Discover New Antarctic Penguin Colonies

Four previously unknown populations of emperor penguins have been discovered by scientists in Antarctica. These so-called “colonies” were discovered using recently acquired satellite imagery. The largest penguins in the world, emperor penguins are aquatic birds that can’t fly but can swim. “Near threatened” is how they are regarded. This suggests that the animals may be fewer in number or occupy fewer regions than they did previously. During the Antarctic winter, the penguins raise their young, known as chicks, on patches of frozen sea ice. Many of the chicks may perish if the ice cracks before they reach adulthood.

 

According to recently published research, some penguins are leaving their former communities. Peter Fretwell works as a researcher for the government agency British Antarctic Survey. He claimed that since 2016, the situation at one colony had gotten riskier. The colony close to Halley Bay appears to have relocated approximately 30 kilometers east as a result. The Emperor penguins have decided to search for more stable sea ice, he said. The four new colonies, according to Fretwell, have probably been there for years but have only lately been discovered by experts. Less than a thousand pairs of penguins make up these tiny colonies, according to Fretwell.

 

Less than 300,000 breeding pairs of emperor penguins have been found by scientists, out of 66 colonies. The four recently discovered colonies barely alter population estimates for the birds. But according to Fretwell, the fact that one of the colonies relocated aids scientists in deciphering the birds’ future migration patterns. At the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in the eastern state of Massachusetts, the United States, Daniel Zitterbart studies penguins. He did not participate in the research on the recently discovered penguins. However, he added that it’s not apparent if the new factions split off from the more established colonies.

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