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New emperor penguin colony discovered by satellite

Aerial images from the Maxar WorldView-3 satellite show the newly discovered emperor penguin colony at Verleger Point.


Aerial images from the Maxar WorldView-3 satellite show the newly discovered emperor penguin colony at Verleger Point. -MAXAR TECHNOLOGIES/BAS

20 Jan. () –

Scientists have discovered a small new colony of emperor penguins in an area greatly affected by the melting of the Antarctic sea ice, thanks to satellite mapping technology.

With this new cologne, now There are 66 known emperor penguin colonies on the Antarctic coast, of which exactly half have been discovered thanks to satellite images.

The team studied images from the European Commission’s Copernicus Sentinel-2 satellite mission, which were compared with high-resolution images from the Maxar WorldView-3 satellite and confirmed. They identified the colony by the birds’ guano stains, which are brown in color and easier to identify next to ice and rock. The new site, at Verleger Point in West Antarctica, is home to about 500 birds and is located at 74°42’S, 136°11’W.

Emperor penguins need sea ice to breed and are found in very difficult areas to study because they are remote and often inaccessible and can experience temperatures as low as -60°C.

Lead author Dr Peter Fretwell, who studies wildlife from space at BAS (British Antarctic Survey), says it’s a statement: “This is an exciting discovery. New satellite images of the Antarctic coastline have enabled us to find many new colonies. And while this is good news, like many of the recently discovered sites, This colony is small and in a region heavily affected by the recent loss of sea ice.”

Emperor penguins are known to be vulnerable to loss of sea ice, their favorite breeding habitat. With current climate change projections, this habitat is likely to decline: the most recent projects suggest that with current warming trends, 80% of colonies will be nearly extinct by the end of the century.

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