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EcoAlert: 9,000-Strong Antarctica Penguin Colony Discovered from Space Images

 

              Emperors

 

A huge 9,000-strong colony of emperor penguins has been discovered in Antarctica after scientists spotted their poo trails in satellite images. The massive emperor penguin colony had never ever encountered humans until researchers found them on Antarctica’s Princess Ragnhild Coast.

Researchers from the British Antarctic Survey noticed the trail in 2009 while studying satellite images of Antarctica and it was not until December last year that three researchers from the International Polar Foundation found the colony. Alain Hubert, founder of the International Polar Foundation, said the penguins were curious rather than scared of them, National Public Radio (NPR) reported.

“When you arrive, they just come to see you, to watch you, to turn around you. The penguins - and especially the emperors — they are so human. They’re so cute,” Hubert said. Since the penguins had never encountered humans, Hubert says they weren’t scared, just curious.Hubert and his team live at the research station during the Antarctic summer and are focused on studying climate change, not penguins.

After they encountered a number of emperor penguins, they were convinced that a colony must be close by. They decided to make the treacherous 48 km trip east to the sea ice. “First of all, you have to imagine you’re in the middle of nowhere - without any visibility, with complete whiteout after 24 hours driving on the ice — you go down to the sea,” observed Hubert.

After navigating their way to the sea, they searched for hours and found more penguins than they had ever imagined. Hubert says that seeing so many animals huddled together was like being on another planet.

The Daily Galaxy via NPR and http://www.deccanherald.com

Image credit: NSF

 

Comments

That darned penguin poop give them away every time!

Penguine poo which can be seen from a satellite -- What crap! Can you imagine how much there is if it can be seen from space. All that methane and sulfur must be corrupting the environment....Maybe that's why the ice is melting in the Arctic but growning in the antarctic.

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