Free Newsletters - Space News - Defense Alert - Environment Report - Energy Monitor
. Earth Science News .




ICE WORLD
Global warming a concern at Chile's penguin paradise
by Staff Writers
Magdalena Island, Chile (AFP) March 17, 2014


Magdalena Island, located near Chile's southern tip, is a natural paradise for tens of thousands of penguins who come every year to breed.

But global warming could threaten the long-term survival of the species, say experts at the island nature reserve in the Strait of Magellan, about 50 kilometers (30 miles) from the city of Punta Arenas.

The island is home to 22 bird species -- 11 which nest year-round and 11 seasonal visitors -- including the Magellanic penguin.

Some 23,000 tourists a year make the pilgrimage to Los Pinguinos Natural Monument, a protected area comprising tiny Marta Island and windswept Magdalena Island.

The penguins' main predators are aggressive seabirds called skuas and Dominican gulls, which feed off penguin eggs and young, says Roberto Fernandez, a ranger at the site for the past seven years.

And those predator populations are growing.

"Right now, what we are seeing is summer starting late, then lasting through into March. Climate change is bringing about a rise in gull numbers, that is for sure," monument administrator Neftali Aroca told AFP.

"You would have to undertake a long-term study in order to link this increase with a reduction in the penguin population but the forecast is that in the future, the penguins could be at risk."

The worrying prognosis seems to confirm alarm bells sounded in January in a study published in the scientific journal PLOS ONE, which indicated that extreme weather, such as unseasonal warmth and heavy rainfall, may have killed off a considerable number of young Magellanic penguins.

The study -- conducted over a period of 27 years in Argentina's Punta Tombo peninsula, the largest breeding ground for the species -- showed that 65 percent of the colony's young died annually on average, 40 percent of them from hunger and seven percent owing to the effects of climate change.

- Epic swim -

Each year, the penguins flee the cold to spend winter in the warmer waters off Brazil.

As soon as they are big enough to swim, they head off on a 4,000-kilometer (2,500-mile) odyssey from Magdalena Island to Brazil.

They spend the Southern Hemisphere winter on the coast of Brazil's southern Santa Catarina state -- though they sometimes make it as far up as Rio de Janeiro's beaches.

Come mid-August, they begin to head back, via Uruguay and Argentina to the Strait of Magellan, the natural passage between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, and Magdalena Island.

"Magellanic penguins come to the island to complete their reproductive cycle," explains Valeria Sanchez, who has spent five years as a tour guide here.

"They start arriving in September, as summer approaches, to enjoy the longer days necessary to incubate their eggs and look after their young."

- Family circles -

The Magellanic penguins, who can live to 25, are monogamous, sharing their lives with just one partner.

First to arrive on Magdalena Island are the males, who must seek out the burrowed nests dug the previous season and make any necessary changes with whatever material they can find, including stones and feathers, before attracting their mate.

Around a fortnight later, the females arrive, and their keen partners sound a trumpet-like call to guide them to the nest.

The species tends to use the same burrow year after year to reproduce over a six-to-seven-month period.

Following fertilization, the females lay one or two eggs. For the first 12 days, she will incubate them and not leave them -- even to eat.

Following their long fast, the mothers give way to the males in order to feed. The couples then switch at roughly fortnightly intervals until the end of the 40 to 45 day incubation period ahead of hatching in around November.

- 'Cup' refuge in Brazil -

During the first months of their lives, the penguins' offspring are wholly dependent on their parents for food, learning to swim and how to fend off predators.

"Between February and March, they start to leave the island -- but this year they began leaving two or three weeks earlier," Sanchez said.

"It seems they wanted to give themselves a head start to go and see the World Cup in Brazil," she joked, before explaining that the young had simply hatched early this year.

.


Related Links
Beyond the Ice Age






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





ICE WORLD
Study projects big thaw for Antarctic sea ice
Gloucester Point VA (SPX) Mar 03, 2014
Antarctica's Ross Sea is one of the few polar regions where summer sea-ice coverage has increased during the last few decades, bucking a global trend of drastic declines in summer sea ice across the Arctic Ocean and in two adjacent embayments of the Southern Ocean around Antarctica. Now, a modeling study led by Professor Walker Smith of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science suggests tha ... read more


ICE WORLD
Safety lapses rapped after US nuclear plant fire

Contaminated Fukushima water may be dumped as problems mount

Fukushima: three years on and still a long road ahead

31 dead, nine missing in China lorry blast

ICE WORLD
Getting rid of bad vibrations

A brake for spinning molecules

Researchers Describe Oxygen's Different Shapes

MUSE Envisions Mining "Big Code" to Improve Software Reliability and Construction

ICE WORLD
Global food trade can alleviate water scarcity

Global powers sign declaration on sustainable fishing

New Statistical Models Could Lead to Better Predictions of Ocean Patterns

Water-rich gem points to vast 'oceans' beneath the Earth

ICE WORLD
The Frozen Truth about Glaciers, Climate Change and Our Future

Global warming a concern at Chile's penguin paradise

Melting away: vanishing ice warning for 'Africa's Alps'

NASA Data Sheds New Light on Changing Greenland Ice

ICE WORLD
Incentives needed to improve grain markets in India

Success of new bug-fighting approach may vary from field to field

Crop intensification as a long-term solution to African food shortages

New bioinsecticide can help control banana plantation pest

ICE WORLD
Torrential rains kill 32 in South Africa in two weeks

Pre-dawn quake jolts jittery Los Angeles

Earthquakes Caused by Clogged Magma a Warning Sign of Eruption

Philippine Catholics make lifelong sacrifice after typhoon

ICE WORLD
Chinese nationals held in Nigeria for illegal fishing

What sculpted Africa's margin?

South Sudan intercepts 'mislabelled' UN weapons shipment

Up to 12 'terrorists' in Mali killed by French forces

ICE WORLD
Stirring the simmering 'designer baby' pot

Empathy chimpanzees offer is key to understanding human engagement

Natural selection has altered the appearance of Europeans over the past 5,000 years

'Seeing' bodies with sound (no sight required)




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.