‘Annihilation of Adelie penguin chicks’
than normal to forage for food, with the result that their chicks starved. This was a double whammy for the colony. Just four years ago the chicks froze to death when rain – yes, rain in Antarctica – was followed by a sudden cold snap. The krill on which the penguins depend will also be impacted by climate change which is already shrinking their available habit and disrupting their life cycle.
The discovery of the penguin chick deaths prompted renewed calls for more marine protected areas. At the 2016 CCAMLR meeting, all member countries finally agreed to establish an
MPA in the Ross Sea, but it’s just been announced that this year’s meeting failed to reach consensus about creating one in East Antarctica. MPAs don’t directly prevent the impacts of climate change, but at least help to give the penguins a fighting chance by reducing competition with humans for the available food.
Mr Hill concludes that it’s a waste of time for Greenpeace to oppose whaling because the whales are likely to starve anyway. Trying to turn things around is certainly an enormous challenge, and one that comes with no guarantee of success. But we can all draw inspiration from the activists who go to sea in very small boats in order to face down very large whaling ships.
Jane Young South Otago Forest& Bird
A pair of Adelie penguins.