Geographer discovers previously unknown colony of penguins in images from space

(ORDO NEWS) — A British Antarctic Survey scientist has discovered a previously unknown emperor penguin colony on satellite images of West Antarctica.

In photographs taken in October by the Maxar WorldView-3 satellite, scientist Peter Fretwell found brown spots of guano that indicated the presence of emperor penguins.

The high resolution of the photo allows you to detect objects up to 30 centimeters in size, so the scientist was able to see even individual birds in the form of dots.

The colony near Cape Verleger is estimated to have about a thousand adult birds, making it relatively small compared to the other 66 colonies on the coast of Antarctica.

Studying emperor penguin colonies is difficult, as many of them are in remote areas and are only visible on satellite imagery.

Because penguin guano accumulates and turns the ice and snow dark brown, it is much easier to see from a distance than emperor penguins themselves.

Emperor penguins are the largest of all penguins and reach a height of about a meter. They got their name because of the bright black, white and yellow plumage.

Recent satellite studies have even shown that there may be about 20% more emperor penguins in Antarctica than previously thought.

However, due to global climate change, we will lose at least 80% of emperor penguin colonies before the end of the century.

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