Antarctica is over 5 million square miles and has some extremely well adapted species living there!
There are six species of penguin that call Antarctica home.
- Emperor Penguin
595,000 mature individuals remaining in the wild with no current major threats.
- Chinstrap Penguin
Declining population trend can be attributed to threats from recent volcanic activity, human disturbances of breeding colonies and the harvesting of Antarctic krill which makes up the bulk of their diet.
- Gentoo Penguin
774,000 mature individuals.
Major threats come from the collection of eggs and disturbances from tourism which decrease breeding productivity.
- Adelie Penguin
7580,000 mature individuals remaining in the wild and an increasing population trend.
Their major threats come from climate change, the building of research stations which change their habitat and from the disturbance from tourists and scientists.
- King Penguin
Increasing population trend but faces threats from increasing sea temperatures, disturbance from helicopter flights which causes breeding failure; and disturbances from scientists and tourists.
- Macaroni Penguin
Decreasing population trend which has faced major threats from commercial fishing, the warming of oceans, disturbance from scientists and tourists. Also increasing numbers of Fur Seal is leading to increased predation.
There are 5 types of Orca in Antarctic waters.
- Type A
A very large orca: reaching lengths of up to 31 feet.
Hunt Minke whales.
- Type B Large
Also known as Pack Ice Orcas.
Hunt seals and are famous for their “wave-washing” hunting technique.
Type B Small
Also known as Gerlache Orcas.
They are believed to feed on penguins.
- Type C
Also known as the Ross Sea Orca.
They are the smallest orcas reaching lengths of 20 feet.
- Type D
These are Subantarctic orcas.
They look different from other orcas and are easily distinguished by their large melon.
Very little is known about these orcas.
To read more about orcas, you can read my post “All About Killer Whales”
18,000 mature individuals remaining in the wild.
There are no major threats from human activity currently. However, climate change is leading to loss of sufficient pack ice for pupping and resting. There is also becoming less penguins available as prey for the leopard seals.
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Images courtesy of:
- Encyclopaedia Britannica
- Penguin Pictures
- Cornforth Images
- Penguins World
- Whale and Dolphin Conservation
- Radio New Zealand
- Active Wild