Penguins are the most common birds on the icy continent and live in colonies with populations as large as some cities. Of the 17 species recorded over the years in the region, only the emperor and Adelie remain in the frozen desert around the year. The hook belt, gentoo and macaroni all breed on the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula before heading towards the cooler waters of the Southern Ocean.
But things are changing fast.
Temperatures on the continent have risen by almost 3C over the last 50 years, and about 87 percent of the glaciers along its west coast have “retreated” by that time.
Award-winning filmmaker and author Jon Bowermaster revealed some of the first-hand effects of this change during Amazon Prime̵
He said: “We see a trio of tents on Petermann Island and pull ashore to investigate.
“It turns out it’s home to penguin researchers based here every summer.”
The environmental group Oceanides has been monitoring wildlife for two decades in the region.
Researcher Melissa Rider said: “The Gentoo penguins are increasing and the Adelie penguins are declining.
“Even from last year to this year, we have lost 20 percent of our Adelie penguins in one year.
“The nobles are cold-loving birds, they like a lot of sea ice, and we do not get that kind of conditions in this part of the Antarctic Peninsula anymore.
READ MORE: Antarctica: ‘Creepy’ British base ‘untouched in 50 years’ explored after scientists fled
“Ever since she left King George, she had been lobbying to take a day to search for it.”
After wandering through the ice for several hours, the pair saw the penguin only five feet away.
Stewart said in 2016: “There it is. It is so beautiful.
“You can still see the little white patch on your head.
“I do not think it’s right there. I could not be more excited. ”
In the ocean, the black backs of penguins camouflage the birds from both predators and prey that swim over.
Experts suspect that the color change will affect the bird’s survival, although there are no studies that support the theory.
Although penguins have wings and feathers, they cannot fly.
Instead, they have evolved into the most effective swimmers and divers of all birds.
Some species spend 75 percent of their time at sea – mostly birds.