Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

150,000 Penguins Die After Huge Iceberg Blocks Route to Sea

Science

An estimated 150,000 Adélie penguins living in Cape Denison, Antarctica, have died after a stranded iceberg became grounded forcing the penguins to travel almost 40 miles in search of food.

According to a new study in Antarctic Science, with the 2011 arrival of the colossal iceberg B09B, sea ice has extended up to 60 km across East Antarctica's Commonwealth Bay, which has had devastating consequences for the Adélie penguin colony.

These Adélie penguins are thriving at the edge of the sea ice, but their fellows are dying when trapped too far from the ocean. Photo credit: Annette Turney / Australasian Antarctic Expedition 2013-14

The giant iceberg, the size of Rome, had apparently been floating close to the coast for 20 years before crashing into a glacier and becoming stuck.

"It's eerily silent now," Chris Turney, professor of climate change and earth sciences at UNSW in Australia and co-author of the study, told the Sydney Morning Herald. "The ones that we saw at Cape Denison were incredibly docile, lethargic, almost unaware of your existence. The ones that are surviving are clearly struggling. They can barely survive themselves, let alone hatch the next generation. We saw lots of dead birds on the ground ... it's just heartbreaking to see.

"They don't migrate. They're stuck there. They're dying."

Lead author Dr. Kerry-Jayne Wilson of the West Coast Penguin Trust told the Sydney Morning Herald that regional changes triggered by the iceberg had led to a "catastrophic breeding failure." She said it was "heart wrenching" to see the impact on the penguins, with researchers walking "amongst thousands of freeze-dried chicks from the previous season and hundreds of abandoned eggs."

According to the researchers, 93 percent of the population is already dead and “the Cape Denison population could be extirpated within 20 years unless B09B relocates or the now perennial fast ice within the bay breaks out.

"This has provided a natural experiment to investigate the impact of iceberg stranding events and sea ice expansion along the East Antarctic coast.”

Watch this video by Intrepid Science to learn more:

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Victory: Obama Protects 1.8 million Acres of California Desert

This Viral Meme Says it All

Gruesome Tumors on Sea Turtles Linked to Climate Change and Pollution

Starving Sea Lion Takes Refuge at Upscale San Diego Restaurant

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

More than 1,000 people were told to evacuate their homes when a wildfire ignited in the foothills west of Denver Monday, Colorado Public Radio reported.

Read More Show Less

Accessibility to quality health care has dropped for millions of Americans who lost their health insurance due to unemployment. mixetto / E+ / Getty Images

Accessibility to quality health care has dropped for millions of Americans who lost their health insurance due to unemployment. New research has found that 5.4 million Americans were dropped from their insurance between February and May of this year. In that three-month stretch more Americans lost their coverage than have lost coverage in any entire year, according to The New York Times.

Read More Show Less
Heat waves are most dangerous for older people and those with health problems. Global Jet / Flickr / CC by 2.0

On hot days in New York City, residents swelter when they're outside and in their homes. The heat is not just uncomfortable. It can be fatal.

Read More Show Less
Nearly 250 U.S. oil and gas companies are expected to file for bankruptcy by the end of next year. Joshua Doubek / Wikimedia Commons / CC by 3.0

Fracking companies are going bankrupt at a rapid pace, often with taxpayer-funded bonuses for executives, leaving harm for communities, taxpayers, and workers, the New York Time reports.

Read More Show Less
Trump introduces EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler during an event to announce changes to the National Environmental Policy Act, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on Jan. 9, 2020 in Washington, DC. The changes would make it easier for federal agencies to approve infrastructure projects without considering climate change. Drew Angerer / Getty Images

A report scheduled for release later Tuesday by Congress' non-partisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) finds that the Trump administration undervalues the costs of the climate crisis in order to push deregulation and rollbacks of environmental protections, according to The New York Times.

Read More Show Less
The American Federation of Teachers (AFT), National Education Association (NEA), and AASA, The School Superintendents Association, voiced support for safe reopening measures. www.vperemen.com / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA

By Kristen Fischer

It's going to be back-to-school time soon, but will children go into the classrooms?

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) thinks so, but only as long as safety measures are in place.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Critics charge the legislation induces poor communities to sell off their water rights. Pexels

By Eoin Higgins

Over 300 groups on Monday urged Senate leadership to reject a bill currently under consideration that would incentivize communities to sell off their public water supplies to private companies for pennies on the dollar.

Read More Show Less