Another false alarm goes up in smoke

Adelie penguins wondering whether it’s safe to swim.

On Dec 29, 2007, ZeeNews reported that Adélie penguins faced extinction within five to ten years due to climate change. They quickly changed that to “locally extinct”, which means not extinct, extant.

But never mind — melting ice is making it easier for the darling Adélies to find food. Hurrah!

Adélies are the commonest species of penguin in Antarctica (actually, all penguins live in Antarctica, except the Galapagos penguin). Their populations increase during years of sparse sea ice and plummet when it peaks, but researchers didn’t know why.

For Adélies, swimming is four times faster than walking, meaning faster access to food and, in turn, healthier offspring and longer lifespans. So less dying off, more flourishing. Hurrah!

Note the entirely natural past variations in sea ice, not caused by your new SUV. Once again, we can stop worrying.

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