Researchers found a new colony for gentoo PenguinsOn the eastern side of the island, you will find Andersson Island. Antarctic PeninsulaThe first-ever record of the species was made in an unexplored archipelago at northern tip.
These are the records for gentoo penguins from the region’s southmost point. It was too icy to raise chicks until recently, so these records are quite impressive.
This far south was the first time that a single gentoo nest has been found. Recent explorations revealed that there was a colony on Andersson Island of 75 gentoo chickens.
Global warming, which is largely due to the unabated combustion of fossil fuels, has caused irreversible changes to the polar region, including the rapid decline of ice sheet and glaciers.
In February 2020, the Antarctic Peninsula set a new record for temperature at 18.3C. Petteri Taalas (secretary general of the World Meteorological Organization) stated that the Antarctic Peninsula is one of the most rapidly warming regions on Earth. It has risen to almost 3C in the past 50 years.
“This new temperature record is therefore consistent with the climate change we are observing,” he added.
The health of the Antarctic ecosystem can be monitored by penguins. For example, a recent expedition discovered that Elephant Island’s chinstrap penguin colonies had collapsedSome by as high as 77% in the past 50 years.
The gentoo penguin is distinctive with a white stripe across the top, a vivid reddish-colored bill, and a long tail that sweeps side to side while it waddles.
They are the third-largest penguin species, after the emperor and the king penguins. They can grow up to 90cm in height. They can swim underwater at speeds up to 22 mph and are the fastest penguins.
Scientists are completing the first-ever count of their colonies. This is filling in critical data gaps about the state of the gentoos. Greenpeace sent the researchers onboard the Arctic Sunrise ship as part of an expedition to the region.
Heather Lynch, professor of ecology and evolution at New York’s Stony Brook University, and an expedition lead, explained that the trip had involved surveying on foot, for the first time, parts of the peninsula where penguin colonies had been spotted from satellites.
“Mapping out these remote archipelagos will give us a better understanding of how the region’s penguins are responding to rapid climate change,” Lynch said.
“As expected, we’re finding gentoo penguins nearly everywhere we look – more evidence that climate change is drastically changing the mix of species here on the Antarctic Peninsula.”
These findings were released to mark World Penguin Awareness Day.
Louisa Casson, from Greenpeace’s Protect the Oceans campaign described it as “the climate crisis happening right in front of our eyes”.
“In the Antarctic, one of the most remote places on Earth, we are seeing a ‘gentoofication’ process where this species of penguin is spreading into new habitat and breeding further south: a biological manifestation of sea ice loss,” she said.
She called for governments to agree to a new Global Ocean Treaty to deliver protection for at least 30 per cent of the world’s oceans by 2030.
“Penguins and people across the world can’t wait: we need politicians to get ocean protection done now,” she added.