(London) British scientists announced, on Friday, that they have identified a new colony of emperor penguins in Antarctica, using satellite images of the continent, as these species are at great risk due to global warming.
The research team discovered a colony of 500 individuals thanks to the dark spots that can be seen clearly from space caused by the droppings of these animals on the ice floe.
This new colony brings to 66 the number of emperor penguin populations identified along the Antarctic coast, half of which have now been spotted thanks to satellite imagery.
“It’s an exciting discovery […]but if it represents good news […]”This colony is small and in an area very vulnerable to melting ice,” said Professor Peter Fretwell, who carried out the research for the British Antarctic Survey.
The emperor penguin, the largest of the penguin species that lives and breeds only in Antarctica, was recently listed as an endangered species by the US Wildlife Service.
Global warming and melting sea ice threaten penguin breeding grounds, while ocean acidification threatens certain species of crustaceans that they feed on.
Scientists estimate that at the current rate of global warming, almost all emperor penguins could become extinct by the end of the century.
Scientists on this project worked to identify penguin colonies using a satellite mission developed under the European Copernicus Climate Change Programme.
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