Adélie penguins: cute, captivating and inquisitive. They’re also incredibly vulnerable to threats emerging from climate change and fishing expansion around their Antarctic homes.
To give them a chance of survival, it’s crucial that we protect their feeding grounds.
WWF is urging the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) to put in place a marine protected area (MPA) around East Antarctica. This will help protect the feeding grounds of penguins.
CCAMLR is meeting on the 16th of October 2017 in Hobart where a proposal for a new marine protected area in the waters off East Antarctica will be considered. This proposal has been on the tables for eight years – so it’s time!
Read on to learn more about Adélie penguins and their curious quirks!
The bird that swims
Penguins are flightless birds, but what they lack in the flying department, they make up for in the water. With a torpedo-shaped body, a tail that acts as a rudder and flippers that help propel them, penguins are excellent swimmers.
PARDOn MY FRENCH
Where did the Adélie penguin (Pygoscelis adeliae) get their chic french name from? Why, from French Antarctic Explorer Jules Dumont d'Urville. He named Adélie Land, in southern Antarctica, after his wife, Adéle. Then later scientists gave this name to the penguin species. Folks, find yourself a partner that’ll name a species after you.
Dressed for any occasion
Adélie penguins sure look classy! They have a distinctive white ring around their eyes and their black and white aesthetic along with their long tail feathers make them look like they’re wearing a tuxedo. Talk about being dressed for the occasion!
Fast swimmers, deep divers
The Adélie penguin has a streamlined body that allows it to swim as fast as 8 km/h! If that’s not impressive enough, they’re also able to dive to depths of over 150 metres.
THE HEAT IS ON
These beautiful Adélie penguins are under escalating pressure. Global warming is taking away precious ground where penguins raise their young. This species nests on ice-free rocky coasts, often in open areas to accommodate large colonies, which may be far from the open sea.
SMALL IS BEAUTIFUL
Adélie penguins are about 70 cm tall. They weigh between 3-6 kg and can live up to 20 years of age.
IT TAKES TWO
Adélies come ashore to breed in October. They lay their eggs (usually two) in November. The male and female take it in turns to incubate the eggs, guarding them from predators until they hatch in mid-to-late December.
DOING IT TOUGH
Sadly, earlier this year from a colony of over 18,000, only two chicks survived. This number is absolutely devastating, and it is why urging CCAMLR to put in place a marine protected area around East Antarctica is important for the survival of the Adélie penguin.
Want to help support the work that WWF-Australia does? Adopt a penguin today.