Antarctic Wildlife

No where has been hit harder by climate change than the polar regions of the planet, taking its toll on the majestic, fascinating wildlife that Antarctica hosts. With the signing of the Antarctic Treaty in 1961, Wildfoot Travel are stalwart protectors of this magical frozen land and it’s enchanting local residents. For the environmentally conscious amongst you – here’s a quick look a 2 of Antarctica’s more distinguished creatures.

antarctic wildlife albatross

Photo courtesy of USFWS Pacific(CC Attribution)

Albatross

With a wing span reaching over 3 metres wide, the Albatross is king of the frozen sky. In seafaring folk-lore, the mighty Albatross was heralded as a protector for those at sea and a symbol of hope in many pieces of classic literature.

A fully matured Albatross can live for a staggering sixty-years, breeding every second year and laying only a single egg. The wandering Albatross can cover huge distances whilst at sea – reportedly embarking on trips reaching 10,000km in 10-20 days.

Biologists have discovered that the population of these mighty creatures is rapidly decreasing. Primarily due to swordfish and tuna fishing operations – 100,000 Albatross are lost every year. However, these figures are showing signs of change, with a range of measures being implemented on Antarctic fishing vessels. These include weighted lines and setting up brightly coloured ‘tori’ – bird scaring – fishing lines.

The Adélie Penguins

Named after the wife of famous French explorer, Dumont d’Urville, the Adélie penguins are the comic stars of the Antarctic landscape.

Don’t let their small stature deceive you, these pint-sized penguins pack a punch – and are often known to work their flippers into a frenzy when approached by an outsider.

Adélie rookeries reach into the thousands and can be found all over the Antarctic continent, favouring ice-free slopes and isolated islands. Living mainly on a diet of krill, the Adélie penguin can dive up to 175m whilst on the hunt.

There are an estimated 2.4-3.2 million breeding pairs of Adélie penguins, who breed between October and February. The Adélie’s are an extremely successful species of penguin – and are the charming, living characterisation of the stunning Antarctic kingdom.

Find out about our expedition cruises to see Antarctica’s wildlife here

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