Senior Editor
Who wants a hug? Photo: Nat Geo

Who wants a hug? Photo: Nat Geo

The Inertia

The internet can be a depressing place, especially in this day and age. Every day, it seems we hear more and more about how badly we’re ruining the planet. Massive deforestation, rapidly declining animal populations, an ocean that’s killing the very creatures that call it home, and an American President hellbent on building the economy and nothing else. But every now and then, if one looks hard enough, there is a glimmer of good news.

Today, it comes in the form of Adélie penguins, the cutest little seabird you ever did see. Listed as near-threatened by National Geographic (not #fakenews), the Adélie penguin calls Antarctica home. A new study just found a lot more of them: 3.6 million more. That puts the number of Adélie penguins at around 6 million, double what was previously thought.

According to an international team studying the penguin over a 3,000 mile stretch of Eastern Antarctica, the population is difficult to assess. “Non-breeding birds are harder to count because they are out foraging at sea, rather than nesting in colonies on land,” Dr. Louise Emmerson, a seabird ecologist, said in a statement. “However, our study in East Antarctica has shown that non-breeding Adélie penguins may be as, or more, abundant than the breeders.”

The study incorporated surveys from both the air and on the ground, extensive tagging, automatic cameras, and old data. It’s not only good news for penguin lovers but good news for future research missions.“By identifying significant penguin breeding populations near stations,” said The author of the study, Dr. Colin Southwell, “we can better identify which areas may need enhanced protection into the future.”


Want more good news? Like pandas? Here you go.

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