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Thousands of Baby Penguins Starved to Death in Antartica

Experts are calling this a catastrophic Antarctic breeding season.

By Laura Beck

Well, this is absolutely heartbreaking.

A penguin colony in Antarctica that's home to over 18,000 pairs of Adélie penguins has suffered a massive breeding failure, with all but two of the babies starving to death.

According to CNN, the World Wildlife Fund said unseasonably extensive amounts of sea ice around the colony forced the adult penguins to travel further than normal to forage for food. The babies did not survive the parents' journeys.

"This devastating event contrasts with the image that many people might have of penguins," said Rod Downie, Head of Polar Programmes at WWF. "It's more like 'Tarantino does Happy Feet', with dead penguin chicks strewn across a beach in Adélie Land."

Downie continued: "The impact of this catastrophic event is confined to this specific colony of Adélie penguins, predictions are that the Antarctic will get warmer and this may pose different challenges in the longer term."

In addition to the tragedy of climate change, the local penguin population is further threatened because of proposals to open the area to the krill fishing industry. (The penguins survive on krill.) Scientists, environmental groups, and officials will meet next week in Australia to discuss the creation of a new Marine Protected Area (MPA) for the waters off eastern Antarctica, which would help protect the penguins.

SOURCE: Cosmopolitan.com