New “mega-colonies” of penguins discovered in Antarctic – Greenpeace reaction

Publication date: 2nd March 2018

Adélie penguin in the Antarctic

Responding to the news that huge “mega-colonies” of penguins have been discovered near the Antarctic Peninsula, hosting more than 1.5 million birds, Louisa Casson, Protect the Antarctic campaigner at Greenpeace said:

“This discovery of million-strong penguin colonies in a remote part of the Antarctic reminds us that we have so much still to discover in this icy wilderness, and underlines why we need to protect the Antarctic and its abundant wildlife while we have the chance.

“The waters around the Danger Islands have been free from the pressures of krill fishing and have thrived. It should stay that way. Governments have a huge opportunity this year to create an Antarctic Ocean Sanctuary, which would put nearby waters off-limits to expanding industrial fishing vessels that are targeting the major food source for penguins and other marine life: the small, shrimp-like, krill.

“Over a million people worldwide are now backing the call for an Antarctic Ocean Sanctuary. Governments need to seize the historic opportunity before them to put penguins like these ones on the Danger Islands out of harm’s way.”

ENDS

Notes

New research has revealed 751, 527 pairs of Adélie penguins on the Danger Islands in the Weddell Sea, on the eastern side of the Antarctic Peninsula. For more information see: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/mar/02/mega-colonies-of-15-million-penguins-discovered-in-antarctica

The Greenpeace ship the Arctic Sunrise is on a three-month expedition to the Antarctic to carry out scientific research, including seafloor submarine dives and sampling for plastic pollution, to highlight the urgent need for the creation of the world’s largest protected area to safeguard fragile Antarctic ecosystems.

The proposal for an Antarctic Ocean Sanctuary has been submitted by the EU and will be considered when the Antarctic Ocean Commission next convenes, in October 2018.

Key findings from the footage gathered from the submarine dives will be shared with the Commission to establish localised protections as well as to strengthen this and other upcoming proposals for marine protection in the Antarctic.

Photos and video footage of Greenpeace’s Antarctic expedition can be found online here: http://bit.ly/2Ffdn8p

For comment & interviews contact: Luke Massey, Global Comms Lead – Protect the Antarctic, luke.massey@greenpeace.org, (+44)7973 873 155