Scientists Discover the Secret ‘City of Penguins’ Hidden in the Danger Islands of Antarctica

A gigantic ‘super-colony’ of penguins has been discovered hidden on remote islands on the frozen coast of Antarctica.

A total of 1.5 million penguins are living on ‘The Danger Islands’, which are surrounded by icy waters packed with thick sea icea that makes them extremely difficult to access.

The area was named the Danger Islands by a British explorer called James Clark Ross, who almost ran into rocks nearby because they were buried under ice.

These grim and freezing rocky islands are home to a massive number of Adélie Penguins, a species which was one of the most common on the Antarctic Peninsula but were presumed to be in decline.

The discovery of a massive new bird city shows things must be picking up for the penguins.

‘Until recently, the Danger Islands weren’t known to be an important penguin habitat,’ said Heather Lynch, associate professor of ecology and evolution at Stony Brook University.

She said the supercolonies have undetected for decades because of the remoteness of the islands and the treacherous waters that surround them.

Even in the summer, the nearby ocean is filled with thick sea ice.

In 2014, Lynch and her colleagues spotted penguin poo on Nasa satellite imagery of the islands, so launched an expedition in December 2015.

The team also used a quadcopter drone to snap images of the entire island from above and count the penguins and their nests using neural network software.

Michael Polit of Louisiana State University said the discovery showed Adélie penguins were having a nicer time of things that was previously believed.

‘Not only do The Danger Islands hold the largest population of Adélie penguins on the Antarctic Peninsula, they also appear to have not suffered the population declines found along the western side of Antarctic Peninsula that are associated with recent climate change,’ he said.