Massive iceberg threatens the king penguins of South Georgia

You may have heard about it, perhaps the world’s biggest iceberg ever recorded has broken free from Antarctica and is drifting at 0.5 mph on the currents towards the remote island of South Georgia on which there is a colony of king penguins feeding on krill, squids and fish which are part of the food chain, at the bottom of which are microscopic organisms which are threatened by this iceberg. The iceberg is obviously melting and it will release an estimated trillion tonnes of cold freshwater at the feeding zones of this population of king penguins. This will devastate the microscopic organisms in the food chain impacting the penguins’ food.

A68a iceberg approaches South Georgia on 0.5 mph current
A68a iceberg approaches South Georgia on 0.5 mph current. Photo: per the caption on the image.

The iceberg has been labelled A68a and it is 34 miles wide and 91 miles long with a surface area of 1600 mi² or 4200 km². It is 200 m deep and it is breaking up. It broke free from an Antarctic ice shelf three years ago and is now on a collision course with South Georgia which is a British Overseas Territory in the South Atlantic.

British scientists and government officials live and work there. It will not affect them in terms of shipping which deliver foodstuffs for the people. This is because they have enough food supplies to last a year having received a recent delivery. It is the penguins who are in danger. Gerry Gillham, station leader for the British Antarctic Survey at King Edward Point said, “There’s a concern for the wildlife. One of the reasons people are down here is to see the penguins and albatrosses. If we are here and seeing young seals and young penguins not being fed properly it can be quite difficult to take”.

The iceberg is scheduled to reach South Georgia in about two weeks and it has been described as a catastrophe about to happen.


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Post Category: Marine wildlife