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Editorial: Newly discovered Antarctic penguin colony deserves its own MPA

Warning: the drone footage of the discovery of a “supercolony” of Adélie penguins, released by researchers last week, is addictive. The finding, based on penguin guano originally noticed on satellite imagery, led to a penguin census in the region using drone-based cameras before teams were sent in to the region. It’s a story of hope. Adélie penguin populations have fallen by more than 65% in the past 25 years. Over the last seven years, thousands of chicks have died in a “catastrophic breeding failure” in the west of the Antarctic peninsula.

So the discovery of an additional 1.5 million Adélie penguins living quietly on the Danger Islands, in the east Antarctic peninsula, is the conservation equivalent of finding a substantive amount of change down the back of a sofa on the day rent is due. Eviction and extinction have seemingly been postponed.


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