In Antarctica disappeared the second largest colony of Emperor penguins
Members of the British Antarctic service, told about the ecological catastrophe in the area of Halley Bay.
29 APR 2019 13:37
Over the last 60 years the sea ice in the Gulf of Halley, located near the ice shelf brunt remained relatively stable. It formed also feel comfortable a huge colony of Emperor penguins: from 15 000 to 24 000 breeding pairs. It was the second largest colony in the whole of Antarctica, and about 9% of the total world population.
However, in 2016 this portion of the planet fell under the influence of a strong El niño. The ice platform on which grew up the Chicks that did not survive the storm and collapsed. Immature kids died in the icy water. According to new research, the colony lost 10 000 babies. Moreover, she did not have time to recover, because the situation was repeated in 2017 and 2018.
Usually the penguins remained on the glacier from April to December. During this time the Chicks have grown feathers and learned to swim. Adults are able to withstand the vagaries of the weather, and now scientists believe that they continue to live in the usual places, but their numbers have seriously declined: record-a powerful storm destroyed the offspring for three seasons.
This is a massive case of population decline in the entire history of observations of penguins in the area. At the same time, the experts recorded the growth of a neighboring colony of penguins called the Dawson-Lambton, which is located 55 kilometers to the South. If in 2015 there were 1280 pairs, to 2018, about 14 600 pairs. Experts hope that a large part of the colony, Halley Bay still managed to escape and simply “moved”.
Study co-author and head of the Department of nature conservation British Antarctic service Tratan Phil (Phil Trathan) notes that as the global population of Emperor penguins, this loss has very little influence.: 54 colonies there are between 130 000 to 250 000 nesting pairs. However, the fact that these persistent birds were so vulnerable in the conditions, previously considered safe, raises serious concerns. Based on these data, we can predict a dramatic reduction of their numbers by the end of the century.
See how journalists saved the penguins.