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'Catastrophic' Breeding Season Sees Only Two Penguin Chicks Survive Out Of 10,000

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'Catastrophic' Breeding Season Sees Only Two Penguin Chicks Survive Out Of 10,000

Experts have sadly described a current breeding season in the Antarctic as 'catastrophic', after only two Adelie penguin chicks survived out of more than 10,000.

The rest of the chicks starved to death in their east Antarctic colony, the BBC reports, because unusually high amounts of ice.

Because of the excess of ice penguins had to travel further to get food, meaning the wait was too much for the chicks. According to BBC News this is the second bad breeding season in the last five years, as no chicks survived in 2015.

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Because of the devastating news people have called for a new marine protection area (MPA) in the east Antarctic to be put in place, which could hopefully help the the colony of about 36,000.

"This devastating event contrasts with the image that many people might have of penguins," Rod Downie, Head of Polar Programmes at WWF, told the Guardian.

"Adelie penguins are one of the hardiest and most amazing animals on our planet. It's more like 'Tarantino does Happy Feet', with dead penguin chicks strewn across a beach in Adelie Land.

"The risk of opening up this area to exploratory krill fisheries, which would compete with the Adelie penguins for food as they recover from two catastrophic breeding failures in four years, is unthinkable.

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"So CCAMLR needs to act now by adopting a new Marine Protected Area for the waters off east Antarctica, to protect the home of the penguins."

The organisation believe that getting rid of krill fishing would help no end to protect Antarctic species.

John Hurt shakes an Adelie Penguin's hand. Credit: PA

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"In other words, there may still be years when the breeding will be OK, or even good for this colony, but the scene is set for massive impacts to hit on a more or less regular basis," Yan Ropert-Coudert, who led a team of researchers France's National Centre for Scientific Research to write a paper on a similar event in 2013, told the Guardian.

"A Marine Protected Area will not remedy these changes but it could prevent further impacts that direct anthropogenic pressures, such as tourism and proposed fisheries, could bring."

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: World News, penguins

Mark McGowan
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