Erupting Volcano May Have Destroyed Huge Penguin Colony
One of the largest penguin colonies in the world is threatened by hot ash and smoke.
Scientists fear that a remote volcano in the South Atlantic Ocean may have seriously harmed the world's largest chinstrap penguin colony.
Mount Curry, a stratovolcano located on Zavodovski Island—the northernmost island of the South Sandwich archipelago—has been spewing smoke and ash since March 2016, covering one-third to one-half of the island in ash.
The island is home to nearly 1.2 million breeding pairs of chinstrap penguins (Pygoscelis antarcticus). With 7.5 million chinstrap penguins worldwide, the colony represents over one-seventh of the species’ global population. The island is also home to 180,000 macaroni penguins (Eudyptes chrysolophus).
The penguins generally inhabit the island from November to April, using the rocky, volcanic slopes as breeding grounds. The eruption would have coincided with their