Iceberg Traps Antarctic Penguins

 

Up to 150 000 Antarctic penguins died after a massive iceberg cut off their food source.  The iceberg, which is almost 3000 square kilometres big,  blocked the birds' passage to the sea. The penguins had to travel up to 70 km in search of food.

The iceberg drifted to Commonwealth Bay where it got stuck in 2010. When researchers came to the area to count the penguin population three years later they found thousands of dead penguins lying on the ground and many others struggling to survive. Only 10 000 penguins from the original colony were left.

The remainder of the Antarctic penguin colony at Commonwealth Bay is in danger of dying as well if the birds are not brought to safety quickly. Biologists claim that if nothing is done within the next 20 years, Antarctic penguins will disappear completely from the bay, where they have been living for over a hundred years. In contrast, the colony living on the other side of the bay was safe and thriving.

According to climatologists sea ice around the Antarctic continent is increasing through climate change. The gigantic iceberg was floating close to the coast for almost 20 years before it crashed into a glacier and became stuck.

 

Penguins are common across all of Antarctica's coastlines. The  sociable  birds live in colonies and get their food from fish and krill near the coast.

 

Antarctic penguins

Antarctic penguins sitting on an iceberg - Image: Jason Auch

 

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Words

  • according to = as said by ...
  • bay = part of the coast where the land curves and is surrounded by the sea on three sides
  • biologist = person who studies animals and plants
  • block = to stop something from moving through
  • claim = to say that something is true
  • climatologist = person who studies the climate and how it changes
  • colony = group of animals that live together
  • common = widespread ; you can find a lot of them
  • cut off = to separate from something
  • disappear = go away completely
  • drift = float on water
  • float = move on the surface of the water
  • food source = the place or area where they get food
  • gigantic = very large
  • glacier= large mass of ice that moves slowly
  • in contrast = on the other side ; to show the difference
  • increase = to become more
  • krill = very small animals with a hard shell that live in the sea and are eaten by other animals
  • massive = very big
  • original = at first
  • passage = way
  • researcher = person who studies something closely in order to find out more about it
  • population = here: all the penguins that live in the area
  • remainder = rest
  • safety = not be in danger any more
  • sociable = like to be together with others
  • struggle = fight
  • stuck = here: could not move any further
  • survive = live on in a dangerous situation
  • thriving = very healthy