In Antarctica discovered the largest colony of penguins

In Antarctica discovered the largest colony of penguins

Satellite images showing what looked to be large swaths of deep pink penguin poop (called "guano") tipped scientists off that the region may be home to a previously unknown population of penguins.

It is also the only island to date with a population estimate (285,000-305,000) derived from a ground survey of the island.

Lynch said that the discovery of the new penguin population will have "real consequences for how we manage this region", which is being considered in the designation of future Marine Protected Areas in the region.

"Until recently, the Danger Islands weren't known to be an important penguin habitat", says Heather Lynch, an ecologist at Stony Brook University who co-led the study, in a release. "In the Antarctic, distances are so vast, something major could be just around the corner and you wouldn't know".

A 2015 expedition discovered a massive number of birds. They counted 751,527 pairs of penguins in total. A medium-sized penguin, they grow to about 70 centimetres tall, and weigh three to six kilogrammes. Of particular interest is the fact that these penguins appear to be thriving, whereas penguin populations in many other places are declining.

The team now want to get a better understanding of exactly what's causing the difference between the two populations, as well as set up policies to keep the Danger Islands protected. Scientists counted penguins and manually analyze the images the drone. Is it connected to the expanded ocean ice condition over yonder? The Danger Islands are surrounded by treacherous waters and are almost inaccessible in even the peak of summer, since the ocean nearby remains covered with thick sea ice.

The Danger Islands are on the eastern side of the northernmost point of the peninsula, and while that means the area might be subject to warmer temperatures, Polito said that the warming trend seems to be buffered by their location on the edge of the Weddell Sea.

To count the newly discovered penguins, the scientists used human and artificial intelligence.

"Basically these islands were covered in penguins", Michael Polito, an assistant professor of oceanography and coastal sciences at Louisiana State University and coauthor of the paper, told BuzzFeed News.

Polito and his team visited the islands, and had the luck of visiting it at a time when the sea ice levels were low and the penguins were nesting there and weren't traveling. "We all knew there would be a lot penguins there, but I think none of us knew there would be this many". "Sustenance accessibility? That is something we don't have the foggiest idea", she says.