According to a recent study, a gigantic iceberg almost killed Adélie Penguins colony in Antarctica. Scientists claim that approximately 150, 000 Adélie penguins have been killed in Antactica’s Cape Denison, Commonwealth Bay, because of a massive iceberg.
The iceberg stopped penguins’ access to food which eventually led to their death. Adélie penguins live throughout Antarctica. They are very sociable and gather in groups. They are also known for their their appearance as the classic tuxedo penguin.
The Adélie penguin colony was studied in 1912 by Sir Douglas Mawson, an Australian explorer. Back then, he carefully observed the colony concluding the population was between 100, 000 and 200, 000. However, the new study, conducted by a group of researchers from the University of New South Wales (UNSW), revealed a significant decrease in the colony population.
Experts studied the penguins between 2013 and 2014 and proved more than half of the penguins perished because of a massive iceberg. Five years ago, a 1, 120 square kilometers iceberg got stuck near the penguin colony blocking their access to food. In these conditions, the birds were forced to walk over 37 miles to find food.
Such a distance is very dangerous for the penguins as they have short legs and cannot endure very long journeys. Moreover, with every year that passes fewer and fewer penguins will be able to survive, therefore they will not return to their initial habitat. This led to an increase mortality rate among the Adélie penguins.
The study main author, Chris Turney, said:
“We found there’s been this catastrophic collapse in the penguin population. They’re just not getting enough food to maintain that colony.”
He describes the penguins’ initial habitat as being oddly quiet, with dead chicks and abandoned eggs scattered around. In addition, Turney thinks the situation is likely to worsen if the iceberg stays the same, leading to the end of the Adélie penguin colony.
As researchers say, icebergs can move naturally and they expect more movement in the future. Because of the global warming scientists anticipate more icebergs. They also said such events might become very common.Experts cannot say exactly how long it will take the Adelie penguins to recolonize the Commonwealth Bay area.
The worst prediction is that without their natural breeding cycle and lacking new members, the penguin colony could perish in approximately 20 years. The study about the gigantic iceberg which almost killed Adélie Penguins Colony can be found in the journal Antarctic Science.
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