In Antarctica discovered the largest colony of penguins

Pengui_and_Drone

"Our survey reveals that the Danger Islands host 751,527 pairs of Adélie penguins, more than the rest of AP region combined, and include the third and fourth largest Adélie penguin colonies in the world".

So a team of researchers headed out on another expedition to the islands in 2015. Using neural network analysis of drone images they took of the colony, the scientists were able to determine the size of the population, as well as how changing temperatures and sea ice are impacting the island ecosystem. The lack of humans and effects from climate change may contribute to the super colony's ability to thrive on the Danger Islands.

"We were.very lucky to have a window of time where the sea ice moved out and we could get a yacht in".

"Until recently, the Danger Islands weren't known to be an important penguin habitat", Heather Lynch, an associate professor of ecology and evolution at Stony Brook University, said in a news release. Governments have a huge opportunity this year to create an Antarctic Ocean Sanctuary, which would put nearby waters off-limits to expanding industrial fishing vessels that are targeting the major food source for penguins and other marine life: the small, shrimp-like, krill. "One of the ways in which this is good news is that other studies have shown this area (the eastern side of the Antarctic Peninsula) is likely to remain more stable under climate change than the western Antarctic Peninsula", said Lynch.

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Poilito believes the year-round icy conditions is a key reason that the penguins were overlooked.

Adélie penguins only live in Antarctica, and their population generally has been declining due to climate change and melting sea ice. "I hope this provides impetus for a marine protected area in the Danger Islands with expanded borders from what has been proposed", Lynch says.

This was an incredible experience, finding and counting so many penguins.

An expedition was arranged to confirm the discovery, which involved the researchers using a drone to photos of the entire island. He then realized that he had discovered a hidden penguin colony.

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"We want to understand why".

'The area is covered by heavy sea ice most of the year, and even in the height of summer it is hard to get into this region to do surveys'. The team used new drone technology to get the first ever count of the population of penguins on the Danger Islands.

Satellite images showing what looked to be large swaths of deep pink penguin poop (called "guano") tipped scientists off that the region may be home to a previously unknown population of penguins.

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