Health Editor’s Note: It is very hopeful that more colonies of Emperor Penguins have been found on climate-challenged Antarctica, but very disturbing that they are located in areas that are facing possible demise due to disappearing ice….Carol
Satellites Spy Poop-Stained Ice, Revealing New Emperor Penguin Colonies
by Alex Fox/Smithsonianmag.com
Rusty-brown streaks of penguin poo seen from space have led to the discovery of eight new colonies of emperor penguin. https://t.co/mAVIVbMHg2— Smithsonian Magazine (@SmithsonianMag) August 7, 2020
Rusty-brown streaks of penguin poo seen from space have led to the discovery of eight new colonies of emperor penguin, reports Carolyn Gramling of Science News. Scientists with the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) spotted the tell-tale smears across Antarctica’s icy white by studying high-resolution satellite images, increasing the global tally of emperor penguin breeding sites by roughly 20 percent to a total of 61.
Sadly, the substantial increase in the number of breeding sites does not translate to a significant bump for the global population of emperor penguins. The new colonies were all small, only adding 5 to 10 percent to the global population of emperor penguins, which now stands at between 531,000 and 557,000.
Emperor penguins may be the tallest and heaviest penguins on Earth, but counting them is hard. They live at the bottom of the world around Antarctica’s icy perimeter in some of the coldest and harshest conditions our planet has to offer, which makes in-person surveys extremely difficult. But having an accurate count of the flightless birds, which stand nearly four feet tall and weigh up to 88 pounds, is more important than ever because a mounting stack of research predicts the huge penguins will march toward extinction …read more: