FunNature & AnimalSurvival of tagged penguins is lower

Survival of tagged penguins is lower

pinguino-rey Marking wild penguins with metal fin bands impairs their long-term survival and reproduction, according to a study with king penguins that inhabit Possession Island in the Crozet Archipelago, Antarctica. The work, carried out by French and Norwegian scientists, is published in the journal Nature .

The researchers, led by Frenchman Yvon Le Maho, studied 50 king penguins ( Aptenodytes patagonicus ) that had been banded and 50 without bands for ten years. In that time, tagged penguins produced 39 percent fewer chicks and had 16 percent lower survival rates , compared to unmarked birds. According to the authors, the seemingly innocuous bands affect the ability of penguins to move in the water and force them to consume more energy in search of food, which sometimes has fatal consequences. Furthermore, the study suggests that tagged and unmarked penguins respond differently to the weather, as tagged ones arrive later on the island to breed (around 16 days later).

Penguins are often considered indicators of climate change, and many scientific studies use data collected from fin-banded birds to help predict their population dynamics.

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