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One of the penguins main food sources - krill - breeds and feeds under the sea ice. Adélie penguins only nest on bare, dry land and increased snowfall during late winter and early spring may cause chicks to hatch later. There's less krill around at this time of year, which can affect the chicks’ chances of survival. Overfishing of krill in parts of the Southern Ocean may also impact one of the penguins main food sources.

Penguins may also lose ground to gentoo penguins, which are better adapted to warming Antarctic environments. We work with governments, industries and individuals to help reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. We encourage them to switch to renewable energy – to help minimise climate change and the warming that threatens penguins, their food sources and their habitat. We’re also involved in helping improve the way Antarctica is managed through the Antarctic Treaty and the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR). They ensure that fisheries are sustainable and aim to eliminate illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing. Your adoption and support will help us: improve the management of Antarctica’s resources and safeguard its wildlife establish a network of marine protected areas covering at least 10% of the 20 million km² Southern Ocean reduce illegal and unsustainable fishing practices raise awareness of the threats of climate change we all face fund our other essential work around the world. They choose a sloping site so water runs away from the nest. If you think penguins are cute and cuddly, you're wrong.

We are fascinated by the funny way penguins waddle and their amazing lifestyles. But a closer look reveals that they have a dark side. Reputation: Penguins only live in icy regions near the poles. Penguins form lifelong loving relationships with their partners and are the perfect caring parents. Reality: Most penguin species live in temperate or tropical places. They frequently cheat on their partners and engage in homosexual acts. In 1911, the English explorer Captain Robert Scott sent three men from his Antarctic base on a mission: to collect three emperor penguin eggs. As temperatures plunged to -60 °C the youngest explorer, Apsley Cherry-Garrard, shattered most of his teeth by chattering in the cold. Cherry-Garrard could have been forgiven for resenting the birds. He later wrote that the knee-high Adélie penguins living around their camp were like funny little men "late for dinner, in their black-tail coats and white shirt-fronts" – although this did not stop him eating them. Over a century later and the world has gone penguin-mad. We are delighted by their upright waddling, flappy arms, ridiculous fluff-ball chicks and adults that get around by tobogganing. Early explorers thought penguins were fish, then quickly changed their minds: they were plainly half-way between fish and birds. By Scott's day the leading theory was that penguins had not yet evolved to fly and might be the missing link between birds and dinosaurs. It was hoped the answer would be revealed by studying their eggs. Almost every penguin that has ever lived has done so in the Southern Hemisphere. We now know that the first penguins waddled the Earth around 70 million years ago. Their ancestors lost the ability to fly as they became better swimmers; their bones became heavier to help them to dive. Now they "fly" underwater at speeds of up to 25 mph (40 km/h), reaching depths of more than 500 m (1640 ft). Which brings us to where they live, and on this point we need to get a few things straight. Except for one rogue bird that overshot it on a fishing trip in 1956, there are no penguins in Madagascar.

As we have pointed out before, there are also no penguins at the North Pole. Almost every penguin that has ever lived has done so in the Southern Hemisphere. They are famed for living at the end of the Earth, but many penguins do not live in Antarctica. They evolved during a heatwave and the oldest known penguin lived in New Zealand, when the surrounding ocean was like a warm bath. By 42 million years ago, giant penguins roamed Peru. To this day, over half the world's penguin species prefer temperate or tropical climates, and the Galápagos penguin lives on the equator. Of the 18 species, emperor and Adélie penguins are the only ones that solely breed in Antarctica. At the time, the material was judged too depraved for public consumption. Macaroni penguins live a long way south and breed in colonies 100,000 strong.

Antarctica's Emperor penguins are so numerous, they can be counted from space.


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