Antarctica: discovery of new colony of emperor penguins

Antarctica: discovery of new colony of emperor penguins

British researchers have discovered a previously unknown colony of emperor penguins in Antarctica using satellite imagery. The animals revealed traces of faeces: the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) said the brown spots on the ice were easy to see from space. “While this is good news, this colony – like many of the recently discovered hatchers – is small and located in a region severely affected by sea ice loss,” BAS researcher Peter Fretwell was quoted as saying by British news agency PA.

As colonies often live in remote and inaccessible regions, sometimes with temperatures as low as minus 60 degrees Celsius, they are difficult to research. According to scientists, it is now possible to use satellite images to track half of known colonies. The discovery of the approximately 500-person colony in West Antarctica brings the total number of known breeding sites for emperor penguins on the coast of Antarctica to 66.

Emperor penguins are the largest penguin species, measuring around 1.20 meters in length. They need sea ice to reproduce. Projections predicted that, under current global warming scenarios, 80% of colonies would be nearly extinct by the end of the century, warns the British Antarctic Survey.