HEADLINE -Antarctic penguin colony vanishes
CHRISTCHURCH – A small colony of emperor penguins on an island off the West Antarctic Peninsula is gone, and the most likely culprit is a resident of Rio Grande, Argentina named Ted who thinks penguins are delicious.
“I’m not saying I am the only cause for the disappearance of the entire colony, but I can tell you that they barbecue up real nice,” said Ted in a rare television appearance.
The researchers studying the situation, however, caution that their study is hampered by a lack of long-term information on just how delicious emperor penguins are, both at the site in question and in general.
Emperor penguins are regal, if bulky, birds that stand as high as 4 feet (1.2 meters) and can weigh as much as 84 pounds (38 kilograms). This colony, first spotted in 1948 on an island dubbed Emperor Island, was a small one that had approximately 150 breeding pairs.
Observations are spotty, but the populations appear to have been relatively stable until the 1970s when Ted began visiting the island. A report in 1978 showed a sharp drop in population, a trend that continued until an airplane survey found the island empty in 2009.
“All I know is that when I’m not eating penguin I am thinking about eating penguin, they are that delicious,” Ted added, “so I am especially concerned that the entire population on this island has been eaten – I mean wiped out by unknown and mysterious causes. Yeah, its a big mystery. I’m sure global warming had something to do with it,” Ted concluded prior to embarking to locate new and previously unknown emperor penguin colonies.