Documenting Penguin Decline in Antarctica (21 photos)

Ueslei Marcelino, a photojournalist with Reuters, recently accompanied a team of scientists on an expedition to Antarctica, where they used drones and manual techniques to count various populations of chinstrap penguins. Marcelino writes: “The number of chinstrap penguins in some colonies in Western Antarctica has fallen by as much as 77 percent since they were last surveyed in the 1970s, say scientists studying the impact of climate change on the remote region.” He quotes Steve Forrest, a conservation biologist: “The declines that we’ve seen are definitely dramatic, something is happening to the fundamental building blocks of the food chain here. We’ve got less food abundance that’s driving these populations down lower and lower over time and the question is, is that going to continue?” Last week, an Argentinian base in Antarctica reported the highest temperature ever recorded on the continent: 64.94 degrees Fahrenheit (18.3 degrees Celsius).


A pair of chinstrap penguins swim near Two Hummock Island, Antarctica, on February 2, 2020. The number of chinstraps at one important habitat in the region, Elephant Island, has plummeted by around 60% since the last survey in 1971, to fewer than 53,000 breeding pairs today, the expedition found.

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Ueslei Marcelino / Reuters)

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