"Ghost Rookeries" narrated by actor, conservationist, and member of the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation (EOWBF) Board of Advisors Harrison Ford, conveys the story of the Adelie Penguin, whose habitat—and thus the biodiversity of all of Antarctica—is being threatened by real-time environmental changes.
When most people think about Antarctica the first thing that usually pops into their minds are penguins. The tuxedo-clad birds are one of the most recognized and loved species living in Antarctica. However their livelihood is under attack from threats, namely the growing krill industry and climate change. It is important to take action now to prevent the penguin from going the same way as the Dodo.
Out of the seventeen penguin species in the world there are only six species that live in Antarctica; Adélies, Chinstraps, Emperors, Gentoos, Macaronis, and Rockhoppers. Out of these six species only four species breed on Antarctica, the Adélie, the Emperor, the Chinstrap and the Gentoo. Penguins are flightless birds that mainly feed on krill and fish. Penguins can swim as fast as 12 mph (20 kph) and can stay under water for 15 to 20 minutes, diving as deep as 500-550 meters (the deepest dive on record was 565 m).
These waddling birds are under threat from the growing krill industry. Krill is a keystone species in the Southern Ocean and directly or indirectly affects every species that lives in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. Penguins, whales and seals are just some of the species that survive off of eating krill. Commercialization of these shrimp-like creatures has been going on since the early 1970s. They have been harvested for human consumption, nutritional supplements and fish feed. However in recent years with advances in aquaculture technology the commercialization and demand of krill has increased, meaning more krill leaving the ocean and less krill for penguins and for the other species (Learn more about conserving the krill industry here).
What You Can Do