The two links:
- today: The secret is out: Scientists spot penguin 'super-colony' in Antarctica. Researchers discover Adélie penguins are thriving despite weather patterns and other concerns
- four years ago: Adélie penguin census shows seabirds are thriving. The penguins are considered a bellwether of climate change, the Antarctic seabird's population is generally on the rise
On the Danger Islands of Antarctica, researchers have discovered one of the world’s largest colonies of Adélie penguins, harboring more than a million birds of a species long thought to be succumbing to changing weather patterns and dwindling food supplies.
The Adélies are dressed by nature in formal black and white. Their eyes are rimmed by distinctive white rings that resemble spectacles. And in recent decades, their fortunes have shifted with long-term changes in the annual ice conditions on which they depend, with eight or more colonies along the Antarctic Peninsula vanishing.
For that reason, the discovery of such a large new colony surprised some scientists.From the linked article of four years ago:
On Friday, [researchers] published their formal count in the journal Scientific Reports: The remote rocky islands were home to a “super-colony” of 751,527 breeding pairs of Adélie penguins—the largest colony in the entire Antarctic Peninsula.
For the first time, researchers have counted all the world's Adélie penguins—a sprightly seabird considered a bellwether of climate change—and discovered that millions of them are thriving in and around Antarctica.
Rather than declining as feared due to warming temperatures that altered their habitats in some areas, the Adélie population generally is on the rise, the scientists said Thursday.
The Adélie penguin population now numbers 3.79 million breeding pairs—about 1.1 million more pairs than 20 years ago.
In all, they identified 251 penguin colonies and surveyed 41 of them for the first time, including 17 apparently new colonies.
Wildlife biologists pay close attention to Adélie penguins because their well-being is tied to annual sea ice conditions and temperature trends. They nest in groups on exposed rock but have to walk to the ice edge to feed in open water.
While annual sea ice in the Arctic has declined dramatically in recent years, the seasonal sea ice around the mainland of Antarctica has reached record levels. The 800-mile-long Antarctic Peninsula, which reaches above the Antarctic Circle toward South America, is relatively mild compared with the mainland. Temperatures there have risen about 2.8 degrees C in the past 50 years, records show.Another story we won't see in the National Geographic. That's too bad. In the old days, this would have resulted in a huge photo-essay and no political agenda. If this story does make the National Geographic, the emphasis will be on global warming. I can already see how the story will be spun.