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Scientists have discovered a huge colony of penguins

04 March 2018

The penguin supercolony was discovered on the Danger Islands - a chain of rocky, remote islands in Antarctica.

Animals inhabit rocky archipelago called unsafe island. It should stay that way.

"Over a million people worldwide are now backing the call for an Antarctic Ocean Sanctuary".

Biologists believed that the Adélie penguin population on the Antarctic Peninsula had been slowly declining for the past four decades, but it turns out the little fellas were just better at hiding than anyone imagined.

The proposal for an Antarctic Ocean Sanctuary has been submitted by the European Union and will be considered when the Antarctic Ocean Commission next convenes, in October 2018.

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The incredible discovery was captured using a video drone, which snapped the countless birds on their remote and unsafe island home from the air. Piecing the photos together later, they were able to clearly count the black back of penguins atop nests in comparison to the light-colored land below them.

"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". Researchers think climate change and the melting of thick layers of ice have negatively impacted penguin populations, and the finding adds weight to this hypothesis because it "shows how robust penguin populations are where the ice is intact", Dr. Hart said.

The team also used a quadcopter drone to snap images of the entire island from above and count the penguins and their nests using neural network software.

The first complete census revealed that the Danger Islands host more than 750,000 breeding pairs of Adelie penguins, more than the rest of the Antarctic Peninsula region combined, the team reported.

"In 2006, I had the chance to visit one of the Danger Islands and was amazed by the sheer number of Adélie penguins I saw".

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"We were.very lucky to have a window of time where the sea ice moved out and we could get a yacht in. Food availability? That's something we don't know".

It could also help them understand what is causing other populations to decline when these penguins are thriving. He also designed algorithms to scan the collected images and identify the location of penguin nesting sites.

Researchers say the Danger Islands have been "largely spared" the environmental changes seen elsewhere in the Antarctic.

"It's not clear what the driver of those declines is yet; the candidates are climate change, fishing and direct human disturbance, but it does show the size of the problem".

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Scientists have discovered a huge colony of penguins