Posts tagged penguins
Announced last Wednesday, these are the winners of the 2012 Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year. This is the 48th year of the international competition, and as always, the entries are an amazing showcase of the world’s best nature photography across 18 separate categories. What’s interesting, though, is how the beauty of nature is juxtaposed against its horrors: we see breathtakingly vibrant emperor penguins and the first adrenaline-filled hunt of cheetah cubs, and then beside them is a strikingly lonely polar bear on a crumbling island of ice, and the horrifying mass carcasses of sharks harvested only for their fins. It is a reminder that yes, nature is brilliant and beautiful and wondrous, but it’s also wild and terrifying, and sometimes humans are the cause of it.
The moss grows in the Antarctic summer and can be an indicator of climate change. Using nitrogen analysis of the soil, scientists found nutrients from seabirds’ waste entering the plants.
“They form these big turfs of bright, almost fluorescent green. It is really soft and velvety to touch, and warms with the sun. It’s quite a lot warmer than the air,” said plant biologist Sharon Robinson.
Landmark polar research about the Adelie penguin’s sex life by Captain Scott’s expedition, deemed too shocking for the public 100 years ago, is unearthed at the Natural History Museum
From the Guardian:
“The pamphlet, declined for publication with the official Scott expedition reports, commented on the frequency of sexual activity, auto-erotic behaviour, and seemingly aberrant behaviour of young unpaired males and females, including necrophilia, sexual coercion, sexual and physical abuse of chicks and homosexual behaviour,” states the analysis written by Russell and colleagues William Sladen and David Ainley. “His observations were, however, accurate, valid and, with the benefit of hindsight, deserving of publication.”
Levick’s lost masterpiece certainly has its eye-watering moments with its descriptions of male Adélies who gather in “little hooligan bands of half a dozen or more and hang about the outskirts of the knolls, whose inhabitants they annoy by their constant acts of depravity”. Injured females are mounted by members of these “gangs”, others have their chicks “misused before the very eyes of its parents”. Some chicks are crushed and injured, others are killed.
Baby Penguin Meets Human for First Time
From GMA: The video is of a man traveling to penguins’ home habitat, Antarctica.
“I was on a tour with friends in Antarctica when we visited a penguin colony,” the visitor, Joel Oleson, explained. “Our guide told us not to approach the penguins, but that it was okay for them to approach us.”
“I laid down to seem non- threatening, and the baby penguin approached me,” said Oleson, a self-described “travel junkie” who has traveled to over 100 countries since 2008 and blogs about his adventures at Travelingepic.com. Watch the video to see what happened next.
The future of Antarctica is greener, cheaper and will probably involve more sharing.
Oh, and more robots.
Those are some of the likely recommendations of a blue ribbon panel looking at how the United States will conduct science on the frozen continent during the next two decades.
The U.S. spends about $380 million each year to support more than 1,200 scientists and support personnel in Antarctica. The last time officials did this big a review, they decided to build a new base at the South Pole and a one-square kilometer neutrino observatory under the ice cap.
Photo: A penguin on Snow Island, Antarctica. Corbis
Dirk, a fairy penguin stolen from an Australian marine park, has been safely returned, but not before being hounded by a dog and chased by another animal, possibly a shark.
Police allege three young men broke into Sea World on Queensland’s Gold Coast on Saturday night, swam in the dolphin enclosure and then stole seven-year-old Dirk as they made their escape.
Emperor penguins in Antarctica are far more plentiful than previously thought, a study that used extremely high-resolution imagery snapped by satellites has revealed.
“It surprised us that we approximately doubled the population estimate,” said Peter Fretwell, a scientist with the British Antarctic Survey and lead author of a paper published today in the journal PLoS One.
Fretwell said that in contrast to previous estimates, which put emperor penguin numbers somewhere between 270,000 and 350,000 birds, the new research counted 595,000 birds.
photo:British Antarctic Survey.