For all those who love penguins, here is some good news. Two huge colonies of Adélie penguins, hiding in plain sight on Antarctic islands, have been discovered. The New Scientist reports that the Adélie penguins also known as the Pygoscelis adeliae, were believed to nest on the Danger Islands, near the tip of the west Antarctic Peninsula. It was only in 2014 that satellite images revealed large areas stained with guano. With the help of drones specially adapted for the cold, a team led by Heather Lynch of Stony Brook University in New York surveyed the birds, leading to the discovery. Before this discovery, experts believed that the population of penguins was on a decline. Also Read - This Image of Two Widowed Fairy Penguins Comforting Each Other Has Made the Internet Emotional
Scientists have now discovered a ‘supercolony’ of 1.5 million Adélie penguins in the Danger Islands, which is a chain of remote, rocky islands off the Antarctic Peninsula’s northern tip. Amidst reports of melting ice caps and global warming, this discovery comes as a pleasant surprise. A 1.31-minute clip of these newly discovered penguin colonies surfaced on the Internet, and it soon went viral with more than 35,000 views at the time of writing this article. Many users commented saying that this is a great discovery, while some were just happy looking at the penguins. Some users also commented that they are glad Antartica is being explored more these days. Also Read - World Water Day Trends on Twitter As Netizens Pledge to Save Water Amid Coronavirus Crisis
With this discovery, the total number of Adélie penguins in the world has touched 8 million, state news reports. Also, there were smaller colonies of ‘gentoo’ and ‘chinstrap’ penguins. An article in Futurity quotes Heather Lynch saying, “Until recently, the Danger Islands weren’t known to be an important penguin habitat.” Lynch is the associate professor of ecology & evolution at Stony Brook University and senior author of the paper in Scientific Reports. Also Read - 25% Climate Change Messages on Twitter Written by Bots: Study
Watch video of the Penguins Supercolony here:
The article also states that these supercolonies were undetected for decades, partly because of the remoteness of the islands themselves, and partly because of the treacherous waters that surround them. Lynch adds that this discovery has helped them understand how important this area is for penguin abundance, and that they can better move forward designing Marine Protected Areas in the region and managing the Antarctic krill fishery.