British scientists announced on Friday January 20 that they had identified a new colony of emperor penguins in Antarctica using satellite images of the continent, where this species is very threatened by global warming.
The research team spotted the colony of 500 members thanks to the dark spots clearly visible from space made by the excrement of these animals on the ice floe, details the British Antarctic Survey, a British research organization, in a press release.
“Region badly affected by the melting of the pack ice”
This new colony brings to 66 the number of groups of emperor penguins identified along the Antarctic coastline, half of which have now been spotted thanks to satellite images.
This is an exciting discovery (...) but, if it represents good news (...), this colony is small and in an area very affected by the melting of the pack ice
", indicated Professor Peter Fretwell , having carried out this research for the British Antarctic Survey.
The emperor penguin, the largest penguin species that lives and breeds only in Antarctica, was recently listed as an endangered species by the US wildlife authority.
Global warming and the melting of the sea ice are jeopardizing the penguin's breeding grounds, while the acidification of the oceans threatens certain varieties of crustaceans on which it feeds.
Read alsoThe emperor penguin, icon of Antarctica
Scientists estimate that at the current rate of global warming, almost all emperor penguins could be extinct by the end of the century.
Scientists worked on this project to identify penguin colonies using a satellite mission developed under the European climate change program Copernicus.