Rain in the Antarctic Freezing Penguins

Baby Antarctic penguins being frozen to death by freak rain storms

Tens of thousands of newly-born penguins are freezing to death as Antarctica is lashed by freak rain storms.

Scientists believe the numbers of Adelie penguins may have fallen by as much as 80 per cent – and, if the downpours continue, the species will be extinct within ten years.

And the Emperor penguin – made famous in the Oscar-winning documentary March Of The Penguins – is also under threat.

Temperatures on the Antarctic peninsula have risen by 3C over the past 50 years to an average of -14.7C and rain is now far more common than snow.

Adelie penguins are born with a thin covering of down and it takes 40 days for them to grow protective water-repellent feathers. With epic rains drenching their ancestral nesting grounds, their parents try to protect them. But when the adults leave to fish for food, or are killed by predators such as seals, the babies become soaked to the skin and die from hypothermia.

‘Everyone talks about the melting of the glaciers but having day after day of rain in Antarctica is a totally new phenomenon. As a result, penguins are literally freezing to death,’ said Jon Bowermaster, a New York-based explorer who has recently returned from Antarctica.

Daily Mail
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