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France's subantarctic Île aux Cochons was once home to half a million breeding pairs of king penguins. Now, only 60,000 remain. Liam Quinn / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

World's Largest King Penguin Colony Shrunk 90% in Last Three Decades

The world's largest colony of king penguins declined nearly 90 percent in the last three decades, researchers announced Monday.

The colony inhabits France's subantarctic Île aux Cochons or Pig Island. Observations from the 1980s showed that it was once home to 2 million king penguins, making it the planet's largest colony of the species, and also the second largest colony of all penguins.

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Penguin colony, St. Andrews Bay, South Georgia. size4riggerboots / Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0

One of World's Last Great Wildernesses Declared Free of Bird-Killing Rats

Following a £10 million ($13.5 million) eradication scheme and nearly a decade of work, South Georgia was officially declared rodent-free on Tuesday, the first time since humans arrived on the island more than 200 years ago.

The British territory is one of the world's last great wildlife areas. There you'll find 98 percent of the world's Antarctic fur seals, half the world's elephant seals and four species of penguins—including King Penguins with around 450,000 breeding pairs. The birdlife includes albatrosses, prions, skua, terns, sheathbills and petrels.

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King penguins on South Georgia. Mary Bomford / Flickr

Climate Change: 70% of King Penguins Could ‘Abruptly Relocate or Disappear’ by 2100

By Daisy Dunne

The arduous journey that king penguins must make in order to hunt fish to bring back to their young could become even longer as the climate warms, research suggests.

The study finds that future ocean warming in Antarctica could drive the penguins' primary hunting grounds further poleward—away from their favored breeding spots.

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A warming climate and expanding industrial fishing threaten the Antarctic Ocean and its iconic creatures such as penguins. Antarctica Bound / Flickr

Campaign to Create World's Largest Sanctuary in Antarctic Ocean Gains Momentum

Greenpeace's ship Arctic Sunrise is on its way to Antarctica, where the crew on board will be the first humans ever to visit the seafloor in the Weddell Sea.

The three-month expedition will aim to further the case for a massive ocean sanctuary.

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Animals

Meet Marty, A Penguin You Won't Forget

The first thing you notice about Marty is how much effort is takes her to swim. With a paralyzed left flipper, each breath seems a heroic effort—yet she perseveres. Marty is one of 15 (mostly) little blue penguins residing at the International Antarctic Centre in Christchurch, New Zealand. As her feeders kindly but firmly point out, this part of the International Antarctic Centre is not a zoo, but rather a "second chance facility" for penguins.

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The yellow-eyed penguin is found only in New Zealand. travelwayoflife / Flickr

World's Rarest Penguin Population at Its Lowest in 27 Years

Nearly half the breeding population of endangered yellow-eyed penguins on the island sanctuary of Whenua Hou (Codfish Island) in New Zealand have vanished, according to a recent survey.

The animals—also known as "hoiho" in Māori—are known as the world's rarest penguins and are only found in New Zealand.

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Humboldt penguins are vulnerable when they molt. A victory in Chile means they won't be vulnerable to mines and ships. Wikipedia / Creative Commons

In a Victory for 26,000 Penguins, Locals and Activist​s Defeat Giant Mining Project

By Allison Guy

Rosa Rojas has some unusual neighbors. Sometimes, when she looks past her front yard to the sea, she spots a blue whale passing by.

Rojas owns a cluster of guest cabins in Punta de Choros, a quiet, 450-person settlement seven hours north of Santiago. If not for the sea, Punta de Choros wouldn't exist. The scrubby, moon-gray desert surrounding the town doesn't offer much to sustain human life. But the ocean here is as generous as the land is dry. Shellfish beds churn out valuable clams and abalone. Whales and penguins lure in tourists.

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One of the dead penguin chicks found in Terre Adélie. Y. Ropert-Couder / CNRS / IPEV

Only Two Penguin Chicks Survive in Catastrophic Antarctic Breeding Season

Thousands of Adélie penguin chicks in Terre Adélie, Antarctica died of starvation at the start of 2017 due to unusually thick sea ice that forced their parents to travel an extra 100 kilometers (62 miles) to find food, according to French scientists.

The colony of over 18,000 pairs of Adélie penguins suffered a "catastrophic breeding failure" that left with only two chicks surviving at the beginning of the year.

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Paul Nicklen

World-Renowned Photographer Documents Most Remote Ecosystems on Earth

By Andrea Kavanagh

World-renowned photojournalist Paul Nicklen, who has been documenting the polar regions and their native wildlife for more than 20 years, is motivated by more than the quest for a great shot.

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