Thousands Of Baby Penguins Have Starved To Death In Antarctica This Year According To Experts


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Adélie penguins are medium-sized birds that spend most of their time out at sea searching for food, according to National Geographic.

However, every year, thousands of breeding pairs meet on the Eastern Antarctic coast in an area called Terre Adélie.

The area is home to 18,000 penguin couples, who each usually hatch two eggs per season. Often, only one of the two chicks will survive if food is scarce.

However, this year, ice conditions caused all but two hatchlings to starve to death before their parents could find food to feed them.


CNN reports that the World Wildlife Fund attributes the tragedy to the “unseasonably extensive amounts of sea ice around the colony in East Antarctica [that] had forced the adult penguins to travel further than normal to forage for food.”

According to National Geographic, Adélie penguin parents stay close at hand immediately after their babies hatch.

Once the hatchlings are about 3 weeks old, the adults are able to leave them alone to go hunting.

This year, due to the extreme ice conditions, the adults tragically weren’t able to return in time to feed them.

Rob Downie, head of polar programs at WWF, comments:

This devastating event contrasts with the image that many people might have of penguins. 

It’s more like ‘Tarantino does Happy Feet,” with dead penguin chicks strewn across a beach in Adélie Land.

Adult penguins are likely to return to the same spot to mate and breed next year, which may lead to a repeat of the disaster.

In fact, a similar incident happened four years ago when the region experienced unseasonably low temperatures and rain during breeding season, causing chicks to freeze to death. On that occasion, none of the babies survived.

Luckily, this is just one of many Adélie colonies, and the total population of these seabirds is actually growing.

Still, concern that climate change and commercial fishing might threaten the population in the future has led environmental groups to take measures to protect Adélie habitat.

Groups will meet next week in Australia to discuss the possibility of creating more protection zones that will help the penguin population keep thriving.

If you would like to get involved, contact the World Wildlife Federation or another conservation group to learn more about helping to protect animals in danger.

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Thousands Of Baby Penguins Have Starved To Death In Antarctica This Year According To Experts

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