Satellite images have revealed 11 previously unknown emperor penguin colonies in Antarctica. They are the only penguins to breed on sea ice, making them particularly vulnerable to the climate crisis. The research was published in the scientific journal Remote Sensing in Ecology and Conservation.
In general, their population in Antarctica is just over half a million individuals.
While this is great news, you need to understand that these colonies are relatively small in size. Their discovery increased the population size by only 5-10%, to a level of about 500 thousand penguins.
Peter Fretwell, researcher at the British Antarctic Society (BAS)
The discoveries were made by finding the characteristic reddish-brown spots that birds leave on the ice. The finds were made possible by higher-resolution images from the new satellite, as previous scans were unable to identify smaller colonies.
These are two new bird colonies that have been found far from the coast, living on sea ice tied to icebergs. Each new group includes several hundred penguins. They all live in at-risk areas, and the researchers say their numbers will decline over time.
In the best-case scenario, the population will decline by 30% due to the greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming.