The Curious Case of the Adelie Penguins

The curious case of the Adelie penguins has yet to be resolved.

Until now it has been largely believed that 150,000 Adelie penguins have perished after an iceberg blocked their access to water and food.

Five years after an iceberg crashed into a big glacier in the area of Commonwealth Bay, Antarctica, the curious case of the Adelie penguins has still not been solved. The B09B iceberg blocked the access to water of the colony of 150,000 penguins back in 2010.

Many have believed that the birds have starved to death because they feed mostly on krill, which can only be found in the sea. However, a recent study has proven that there is no evidence to show that the Adelie penguins have truly perished.

Since their bodies have not been found until now, the researchers who conducted the study think that the birds have simply moved to another place in order to find food.

Adelie penguins are quite common along the Antarctic coast, the only place where they can be found.

University of Minnesota penguin expert Michelle LaRue has stated that the fact that we cannot find the colony does not mean that all the birds have died. Since at the moment penguin colonies seem to be thriving, this might be proof that the Adelie penguins have found other homes.

The new study demonstrates that the birds have travelled about 37 miles from Cape Denison, their breeding grounds. Unfortunately, baby penguins are not resistant to long journeys and thus the numbers of the colony have fallen to 10,000 in 2011. If the glacier will not melt in the next twenty years, scientists expect the colony to completely vanish.

According to University of New South Wales researcher and one of the co-authors of the study, Chris Turney, the place that used to be inhabited by the Adelie penguin colony is now a desolated place, where one can only find abandoned eggs and dead chicks.

On a brighter note, the researchers are positive that the Arctic creatures did not die since their bodies were never found. In the cold areas of the north carcasses can hardly decompose and disappear. There have even been cases when scientists have found corpses of hundreds of years old.

The study was published in the Antarctic Science journal earlier in February.

It may be some time before we solve the curious case of the Adelie penguins, but at least there are chances that the Arctic creatures did not stand to await death, but moved on to survive.

Image Source: Grind TV