An estimated 150,000 Adelie penguins living in Antarctica have died after an iceberg the size of Rome became grounded near their colony, forcing them to trek 60km to the sea for food.
The penguins of Cape Denison in Commonwealth Bay used to live close to a large body of open water. However, in 2010 a colossal iceberg measuring 2,900 square kilometres became trapped in the bay, rendering the colony effectively landlocked.
Penguins seeking food must now waddle 60km to the coast to fish. Over the years, the arduous journey has had a devastating effect on the size of the colony.
Since 2011 the colony of 160,000 penguins has shrunk to just 10,000, according to research carried out by the Climate Change Research Centre at Australia’s University of New South Wales.
Scientists predict the colony will be gone in 20 years unless the sea ice breaks up or the giant iceberg, dubbed B09B, is dislodged.
Penguins have been recorded in the area for more than 100 years. But the outlook for the penguins remaining at Cape Denison is dire.
“The arrival of iceberg B09B in Commonwealth Bay, East Antarctica, and subsequent fast ice expansion has dramatically increased the distance Adélie penguins breeding at Cape Denison must travel in search of food,” said the researchers in an article in Antarctic Science.
“The Cape Denison population could be extirpated within 20 years unless B09B relocates or the now perennial fast ice within the bay breaks out”
“This has provided a natural experiment to investigate the impact of iceberg stranding events and sea ice expansion along the East Antarctic coast.”
In contrast, a colony located just 8km from the coast of Commonwealth Bay is thriving, the researchers said.
The iceberg had apparently been floating close to the coast for 20 years before crashing into a glacier and becoming stuck.
This article was first published by The Guardian on 13 Feb 2016.
Share this post with your friends
You may also like:
Top-Viewed Posts Last 30 Days
- POLL: Should Europe’s Wolves be Rewilded? – [1401 Views]
- 7 Common Food Items Not Good for Backyard Birds – [1273 Views]
- Gray Squirrels versus Red Squirrels – The Facts – [1117 Views]
- Coast Guard Rescues Sea Turtle Entangled Amid Bales of Cocaine – [999 Views]
- How Do Squirrels Deal With Cold? They May Not Feel It Like Us – [990 Views]
- Nepal’s Last Dancing Bears Have Been Rescued – [960 Views]
- Poachers Shoot Down Sea Shepherd Drone in the Gulf of Mexico – [929 Views]
- Beak fitness: New Zealand develops roadside gym for endangered keas – [911 Views]
- POLL: Should the trafficking of Hippo Teeth be banned? – [841 Views]
- Florida Is ‘Raining Iguanas.’ Will The Invasive Reptiles Adapt? – [781 Views]
Top-Viewed Posts Last 12 Months
- POLL: Should hunting with hounds be banned? – [7803 Views]
- POLL: Should there be a worldwide ban on fur farming? – [4516 Views]
- POLL: Should the trophy hunting of bears and wolves be banned? – [4097 Views]
- Gray Squirrels versus Red Squirrels – The Facts – [4032 Views]
- POLL: Should Japan be sanctioned for slaughtering dolphins and whales? – [3395 Views]
- POLL: Should the slaughter of badgers in the UK be finally stopped? – [3100 Views]
- POLL: Should the cruel sport of bullfighting be banned? [2873 Views]
- POLL: Should Canada ban the hunting of seals? [2667 Views]
- POLL: Should the Tories be allowed to bring back fox hunting? [2578 Views]
- POLL: Should wild elephants be sold to Chinese zoos? [2322 Views]