The world’s second-largest emperor penguin colony in Antarctica has almost disappeared due to breeding failure for the past three years.
According to a report by British Antarctic Survey (BAS), thousands of emperor penguin chicks drowned when sea ice at Halley Bay was destroyed by storms.
The Halley Bay colony once boasted of 5 to 9% of the global emperor penguin population, according to reports.
Emperor penguins need stable sea ice from April to December, in order to breed.
Due to the early breakup of sea ice, penguins relocated to Dawson-Lambton, but are not breeding successfully.
In 2016, the sea ice platform broke, throwing the penguin chicks, unable to swim, into the ice-cold weather.
The weather conditions repeated themselves in 2017 and 2018.
Penguin expert and co-author of the survey, Phil Trathan said that it’s not certain whether the change is due to climate conditions, but such a failure to breed is unprecedented.
The sea ice conditions at the Halley Bay site have been reliable and stable for the past 60 years, until recently.