3.6 Million More Penguins Live in Antarctica Than Thought

  • Date: 22/03/17
  • Sarah Gibbens, National Geographic

New data collected by researchers at the University of Adelaide in Australia estimates the population number at nearly six million—almost four million higher than previous estimates.

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Until this most recent study, scientists drew their estimates by counting breeding pairs. However, this means previous counts missed non-breeding penguins.

“Non-breeding birds are harder to count because they are out foraging at sea, rather than nesting in colonies on land,” Louise Emmerson, a seabird ecologist with the Australian Antarctic Division, says in a press release.

Using a combination of aerial and ground surveys, as well as automated camera images, researchers were able to collect more accurate population counts over several breeding seasons and revise their estimated totals.

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