Impressive Penguin Colony Discovered in Remote Area of Antarctica

Antarctica is so massive – 5,405,000 sq miles (14,000,000 km²) to be exact – that the majority of the continent remains unexplored. While vast areas are surveyed by satellite, it is rare that something very surprising is found in the images.

In 2009 a satellite image revealed what scientists hoped was a large colony of penguins on Antarctica’s far-flung eastern coastline. The presence of the birds would mean good things for the overall emperor penguin count on the frozen continent. But with 30 miles between the supposed group and the nearest research station, a visit would require more than a brisk walk in the cold.

Emperor Penguins, Antarctica ©NOAA Photo Library

In early December of last year, 2012, three explorers from the Princess Elisabeth Antarctica research station made the journey and discovered more penguins than anyone hoped to find. They estimated at least 5 different groups of emperor penguins living along the distant coast, a huge boon to the worrisome penguin count. Scientists estimate that the groups contain at least 9000 of the stately flightless birds, which has caused the scientists to reconsider their previous estimates of colony size in other areas as well.

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