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Blocked access to food in Antarctica kills an estimated 150.000 Adelie penguins

Tuesday, February 16th 2016 - 08:30 UTC
Full article 3 comments
The huge piece of ice forced the birds to walk more than 60 kilometers in search of food, gradually reducing the population to just a few thousand. The huge piece of ice forced the birds to walk more than 60 kilometers in search of food, gradually reducing the population to just a few thousand.
“We saw a lot of dead carcasses, particularly the young, which was terrible to see. Penguins are just not coming back to that area,” said Chris Fogwill “We saw a lot of dead carcasses, particularly the young, which was terrible to see. Penguins are just not coming back to that area,” said Chris Fogwill
Adelie penguins can be found throughout Antarctica. They are known for being sociable and gathering in groups as well as for their classic tuxedo appearance Adelie penguins can be found throughout Antarctica. They are known for being sociable and gathering in groups as well as for their classic tuxedo appearance

Scientists say an estimated 150,000 Adelie penguins have been wiped out on Antarctica's Cape Denison in the five years since a giant iceberg blocked their main access to food. A study recently published in the journal Antarctic Science says the B09B iceberg crashed with the Mertz Glacier Tongue and got stuck in Commonwealth Bay, an area that was rarely covered by sea-ice, making it ideal for Adelie penguin colonies.

 The B09B, with an area of about 2,900 square kilometers, blocked access to the penguins' natural feeding areas beginning in December 2010. The huge piece of ice forced the birds to walk more than 60 kilometers in search of food, gradually reducing the population to just a few thousand.

“We saw a lot of dead carcasses, particularly the young, which was terrible to see. But the really important thing is that the penguins are just not coming back to that area,” Chris Fogwill, a co-author of the study said.

The survey was conducted in 2013-14 by Fogwill and other scientists at the Climate Change Research Center at the University of New South Wales in Australia along with New Zealand's West Coast Penguin Trust.

Adelie penguins can be found throughout Antarctica. They are known for being sociable and gathering in groups as well as for their appearance as the classic tuxedoed penguin.

Researchers say it is hard to know how long it will take the Adelie penguins to re-colonize the Commonwealth Bay area. The worst case scenario is that without their natural breeding cycle and lacking new members, the colony could die out in about 20 years.

Categories: Environment, Antarctica.

Top Comments

Disclaimer & comment rules
  • ChrisR

    Shame, but hat's nature.

    Feb 16th, 2016 - 11:01 am 0
  • Captainsilver

    I love Adele penguins, they have got attitude.

    Feb 16th, 2016 - 11:25 am 0
  • CapiTrollism_is_back!!

    This happened in “Commonwealth bay”?

    Well, since the British love to claim Antarctica as theirs, then I say they be held responsible. A massive genocide just took place in their territory and they should be held accountable for the murderers that they are.

    Feb 20th, 2016 - 09:50 am 0
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