'Supercolony' of 1.5 million penguins found on Antarctic islands

Researchers estimate the Danger Islands hold the largest colonies of Adelie penguins in Antarctica and the third and fourth-largest colonies in the world

Previously unknown 'supercolony' of Adélie penguins discovered in Antarctica

The penguin supercolony was discovered on the Danger Islands - a chain of rocky, remote islands in Antarctica. "We present the first complete census of Pygoscelis spp. penguins in the Danger Islands, estimated from a multi-modal survey consisting of direct ground counts and computer-automated counts of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) imagery". It should stay that way.

Polito is hopeful that the discovery of this hidden penguin super-colony will help policy makers have a better understanding of how the Waddell Sea is important, and that they will take it into consideration as a protected marine sanctuary.

"Over a million people worldwide are now backing the call for an Antarctic Ocean Sanctuary".

A total of 1.5 million penguins are living on "The Danger Islands", which are surrounded by icy waters packed with thick sea icea that makes them extremely hard to access.

Adélie penguins only live in Antarctica, and their population generally has been declining due to climate change and melting sea ice.

The proposal for an Antarctic Ocean Sanctuary has been submitted by the European Union and will be considered when the Antarctic Ocean Commission next convenes, in October 2018.

Members of the expedition team arrived at the island in December 2015. The team wasn't sure how many penguins were there, so they set out to count them. The scientists also used a drone to photograph the area, looking for penguins. The Danger Islands are surrounded by treacherous waters and are almost inaccessible in even the peak of summer, since the ocean nearby remains covered with thick sea ice. It is the very large population of known.

"We thought, 'Wow! If what we're seeing is true, these are going to be some of the largest Adélie penguin colonies in the world, and it's going to be well worth our while sending in an expedition to count them properly".

The islands, which lie at the tip of Antarctica nearest South America, have rarely been visited, and the new discovery was thanks to Earth-monitoring satellites, the team from America, Britain and France, said.

The documented global population of Adélie penguins just grew by 20 per cent. "Sustenance accessibility? That is something we don't have the foggiest idea", she says.

A breakthrough discovery of this scale offers ecologists hope: Even in the age of Google Earth, maybe we don't know our planet as well as we think we do. There is no motivation behind why that couldn't occur to those on the east side also, and scientists will watch those penguins intently in the coming years.

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