News in brief – Otters in Peru, Adelie Penguins and Spring in the Arctic

Peru has set up a national park of 868,000 hectares that will protect the areas many animals and native people. This is one of the remaining areas of untouched Amazon within Peru. A recent survey saw showed that this area had a good population of giant otters. This is particularly exciting because,as with the European otter, the presence of otters is a clear sign that the area has not been disturbed or polluted. There is also a significant population of the South American Tapir within the park. It has been protected as a nature reserve for several decades, but this gives it a far more clear protection and harder to change its status.

A previously unknown super colony of Adelie penguins has been discovered. This population lives in the remote Danger Islands. One of the really fantastic things about these islands is that as these are located off the Antarctic peninsular northern point they are shielded from the effects of climate change and human activity. These islands spend much of the year surrounded by ice. With the size of this colony it is highly important. This is another fascinating case where the discovery was made by satellite; this number of penguins create a large amount of guano, and the huge stains of this guano can be seen from space. Aerial drones were flown over the island, allowing an accurate count of the penguins, and there were over 750,000 pairs, which is more than the rest of the Antarctica peninsular combined.

Signs of spring in the Arctic are arriving 16 days earlier than one decade ago. This is a clear demonstration of the fact that a small change of global average temperature leads to a far larger change in the polar regions. This is likely to cause considerable problems as this if the temperature warms to much in these regions it is likely to lead to significant amounts of ice melting which if continues until there is no more ice, will cause a significant sea level rise.

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