New colony of penguins discovered in Antarctica thanks to satellite images

It is a very endangered species by the global warming. British scientists announced on Friday that they had identified a new colony of emperor penguins in Antarctic using satellite images of the continent.

The research team spotted the colony of 500 members thanks to the dark spots clearly visible from space made by the excrement of these animals on the ice floe, details the British Antarctic Survey, a British research organization, in a press release. This new colony brings to 66 the number of groups of emperor penguins identified along the Antarctic coast, half of which have now been spotted thanks to satellite images.

“It is an exciting discovery (…) but, if it represents good news (…), this colony is small and in an area very affected by the melting ice said Professor Peter Fretwell, who conducted this research for the British Antarctic Survey.

Threatened species

The emperor penguin, the largest penguin species that lives and breeds only in Antarctica, was recently classified as threatened species by the American authority in charge of wildlife protection. Global warming and the melting of sea ice jeopardize the breeding grounds of the penguinwhile ocean acidification threatens certain varieties of crustaceans on which it feeds.

Scientists estimate that at the current rate of global warming, almost all emperor penguins could be extinct by the end of the century. Scientists worked on this project to identify penguin colonies using a satellite mission developed under the European climate change program Copernicus.

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