150,000 Penguins Perish After Massive Iceberg Collides With Feeding Grounds

Hope_Bay-2016-Trinity_Peninsula–Adélie_penguin_(Pygoscelis_adeliae)_04There is a truly shocking story out of Antartica after 150,000 Adelie penguins died after an iceberg the size of Rome converged with their traditional feeding grounds. The addition of the iceberg (B09B) required the penguins to make an 120km round trip to feed.

The penguins of Cape Denison in Commonwealth Bay were flourishing next to open water until the 2900 sq km iceberg entered the bay in 2010.  The result has been the steady decline of the population from 160,000 to just 10,000.  The colony will disappear entirely in 20 years unless the sea ice breaks up.

It is a breathtaking loss and shows the fragility of even large, long-standing populations.

Source: Guardian

24 thoughts on “150,000 Penguins Perish After Massive Iceberg Collides With Feeding Grounds”

  1. I would have named 75,000 penguins 007 and 75,000 penguins Moneypenny. Oh, wait, to be accurately Bond the 75,000 females would all have to have different names to reflect his varied love interests in the movies. And I totally would have given them a ride over the ice. Come on! Rome’s a small area! An iceberg of the same size could have been traversed!

  2. If polar bears evolved today instead of long ago, we would have prevented their existence. The polar bear evolved because global cooling geographically stranded them in the icy north with drastically reduced resources. We would have rescued the stranded grizzlies, given them food, or in some way interfered with evolution. And the polar bear would never have come into existence.

    This is why I could never make such hard decisions to let nature take its course. I could never observe a wild animal perish, and would always want to help. And then I would name it. Ecologists are made of stronger stuff than me, to observer and not interfere.

  3. No need to be facetious. If the population is on the verge of extinction and the ice thin enough that a diverted icebreaker could split enough of it that it melts faster thereby ensuring the preservation of the species without risking lives or causing further damage its worth considering particularly if the iceberg itself formed by breaking off from a larger landmass as theorized due to global warming. Preserving bacteria and preserving a complex species that took millions of years to form whose extinction we may have contributed to are two different things, and if it can be done with minimal effort then all the more reason. Still I haven’t heard conclusive evidence that we are to blame for the iceberg and believe there is another colony of that species remaining.

  4. Is there a way to break up the iceberg? A missile from a submarine! Or, can we collect the living penguins until their current home is restored? Or move them to a compatible location? The Global Warming faction could provide the manpower. If this iceberg is so gigantic that it endangers these little penguins, why hasn’t it melted due to Global Warming? If there is a solution, DO IT!

    1. Sandi Hemming – I know you feel bad for the little penguins, but it is all part of the great circle of life.

  5. ExpatNJ global warming to my understanding would cause large icebergs to form that are incredibly dense by portions of the glacial shelf breaking off. Of course I’m not a scientist more an engineer, but if I had to guess this iceberg didn’t just randomly form at sea but broke off from a larger landmass. That being said I’m not a scientist, just an engineer.

    Out of curiosity does anyone know if human intervention could help? We send icebreakers to the Antarctic for oil etc, could one be diverted to B09B to do some good for the birds?

  6. David….the food chain….and….maybe the food chain is a smarter collective than we give credit….why else would thousands of sharks be hanging around suddenly at the US gulf coast? Global warming? Maybe there is a scientific explanation….to tie. …to global warming….but maybe tooo there is a “spidey” sense of blood in the water. Karma…comes around too often to try to get in its way. Then again it could be calling us. Seriously where are all the bodies?…..on monster quest after big foot hunters…..or buried in snow.

  7. Sad for the penguins. Although you can bet your sweet bippy there are literally billions upon billions of happy, healthy, thriving bacteria which will gleefully consume and recycle 100% of these creature’s matter.

    Nothing here is wasted.

  8. Global WARMING caused this? Wait – what did I miss? Doesn’t warming cause ice bergs to MELT, and dissolve back into the ocean from whence they came? Something doesn’t add up to some of the arguments made here (and elsewhere).

    While I am sympathetic to nature and abhor the death of any species or its members, just remember this:
    if a penguin ever had the chance, it would eat you and everyone you love …

  9. That is so sad.

    Every species can have its catastrophe. Nature can be very cruel, and evolution is basically time and pressure applied to a species.

    The polar bear evolved when it experienced its own catastrophe of being geographically stranded in a rapidly cooling environment. Many perished before it was able to evolve into a hyper-specialized species that needs such a rigid list to survive – it has a single food source, the seal, that it can only hunt part of the year, when the sea ice extends to land. Then, the seal needs to maintain air holes in order to breathe, and the polar bear can lie in wait. For almost half the year, when the sea ice melts, the bear starves. All it takes is the slightest climate change, or the loss of its single prey item, and the polar bear will perish in the wild.

    That is the end result of any species that evolves to survive in a very extreme environment. Take the thermophile bacteria that have evolved to live near boiling vents on the ocean floor. If those vents perish, so does the thermophile bacteria, which cannot survive the frigid temperature of the ocean floor.

    The penguin, too, has evolved to survive an extremely harsh environment, and has a very strict set of requirements in order to survive. It also has limited migration options if their current environment loses the ability to support them.

  10. Once upon a time I took the background tour at Sea World. During the tour we visited the penguins and the guide was gushing as she explained how they saved all the eggs and raised them. However, when I asked her “Wasn’t Sea World violating Darwinian Evolution by allowing every egg to hatch?” She had no answer.
    S**t happens on the Earth. Think how many animals and plants were wiped out when they had the big fire in Yellowstone Park. One colony is wiped out. Other colonies survive. I am sure this has happened before and it will happen again.

  11. How do Dave and Dave know what caused this? They don’t. They are members of Chicken Little Society.

  12. “One death is a tragedy; one million is a statistic.” – Joseph Stalin
    Wildlife populations rise & crash constantly, without human intervention. This is just the way of the world.

  13. Awful. Life is resilient but also fragile. Ecosystems in rapid change are a threat to all creatures, humans included.

    Anytime there’s a story involving animals of any sort, it’s typically negative and caused by our collective disregard.

    It’s not about “saving” the planet; we simply need to stop ruining it, which we do practically everywhere.

    Of course, that won’t happen. And at some point it will be at our deserved expense.

  14. This is entirely due to the Koch Brothers and the Republican Party and their doctrine of No Global Warming and No Democrats allowed. You see, the two doctrines are intertwined. All of the global warming world wide has caused icebergs to break loose further up north and to head in southerly directions. They go after penguin areas because all penguins are Democrats. This was a theory of Mark Twain’s back in 1869. He was then a solid rock ribbled Abe Lincoln Democrat who favored the Reconstruction reforms and the three new Amendments to the Constitution. Twain wrote his fiction in a contrarian manner. On the surface it looks like he favored slavery and the enslavement of N guy Jim. But in truth he was being subtle so that the reader would disfavor the slave holder mentality and Jim and Huck could go downstream on the raft, make a left turn from the Mississippi at the juncture of the Ohio and raft upstream to freedom. This is where the phrase: Never The Twain Shall Meet evolved. In the former slave states, and in much of the North, people reacted against the Party of Lincoln. If you opposed the 14th Amendment and the application of the enforcement of say the Sixth Amendment in your state courts then you proclaimed that you were “UnReconstructed”. This has carried on to this day. In Missouri for example, the Missouri Supreme Court refuses to adopted federal jurisprudence on the issue of applying federal U.S. Supreme Court law of the land decisions in criminal cases. They will not stop state trial courts from railroading criminal defendants where there is no evidence that they were at a crime scene or in anyway connected to the criminal act. See State v. Freeman and State v. Donald Nash.

    Lee Atwater brought forth the Southern Strategy right after Democratic President Lyndon Johnson had the Civil Rights Act of 1964 passed and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The strategy is to take the white bigot vote away from the democrats throughout the South and make all of the Southern states into Red States. The Doctrine of No Global Warming is consistent. The Koch Brothers and other industrialists do not want interference with their Rights. This carries over to “StatesRights!”. Southerners, the Koch Brothers, and the Global Normal theorists all employ the single word StatesRights! in order to spread their intertwined gospels. The Koch Brothers, Lee Atwater (deceased) and the present day Republicans all want to wipe out Democrats of any stripe. It so happens that all penguins are Democrats. So part of the Southern Strategy is to send icebergs into Penguin territores and wipe them out.

    Did I explain this right? Did I make myself clear? I am from Missoura. Hang on, someone’s at the door. ….Dave’s Not Here Man. No, I’m Dave. Knock, knock, knock, Dave?

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