Have The Missing Adelie Penguins Rescued Themselves?

People who know me know I have a thing for penguins and everywhere I went this past week friends have mentioned if heard about the the demise of thousands of penguins in Antarctica?   My response was and is, people, people let’s give the penguins a little credit.

Yes, the news reported around the world was startling — that some 150,000 Adélie penguins have died in Antarctica because a colossal iceberg cut off their sea access.

But there’s no proof that the birds are dead. No one has actually found 150,000 frozen penguins. In fact, many experts think there’s a much less horrific explanation for the missing birds: When the going (fishing) gets tough, the penguins simply pick up and move. It wouldn’t be the first time Adélie penguins marched to new digs. When an iceberg grounded in the southern Ross Sea in 2001, penguins on Ross Island relocated to nearby colonies until the ice broke up.

“Just because there are a lot fewer birds observed doesn’t automatically mean the ones that were there before have perished,” said Michelle LaRue, a penguin population researcher at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, who was not involved in the study. “They easily could have moved elsewhere, which would make sense if nearby colonies are thriving,” LaRue told the Penguin Post in an email interview.


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