New Satellite Images Reveal There Are Way More Penguins Than Previously Thought

A new satellite image shows that there are actually twice as many emperor penguins in Antarctica than previously thought. 

A team of researchers used a combination of medium resolution and very high resolution satellite imagery to reveal that in 2009 there were about 238,000 breeding pairs of penguins living in Antarctica as opposed to the 135,000 to 175,000 pairs previously reported. According to the report, the entire population is estimated to be around 595,000 adult birds. 

The discrepancy in previous estimates is due to the fact that it’s hard to access potential penguin breeding habitats that are not near established research stations. The satellite imagery confirmed the existence of 46 colonies located around the coast of Antarctica. 

The researchers emphasised the importance of obtaining a proper estimate of population considering that the emperor penguins are one of the species whose population is likely to decrease significantly in the upcoming decades. 

penguins satellite imageA satellite image of a penguin colony at Windy Creek, Halley Bay, Antarctica.

Photo: An Emperor Penguin Population Estimate

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