King penguins — the second largest penguin after the emperor penguin — live in the sub-Antarctic islands, including Macquarie Island, south-east of Tasmania. There are about 2 million breeding pairs worldwide.
Their diet consists mainly of small fish and squid, and because of their one-year breeding cycle they are considered sensitive to any seasonal change in food supply.
Over nine years, researchers studied the birds on an island in the Crozet Archipelago in the southern Indian Ocean, marking 456 penguins with electronic tags.
They found that high sea-surface temperatures reduced the amount of marine prey available to the king penguins, forcing them to travel further in search of food.
According to their calculations, a sea-surface warming of 0.26 degrees would lead to a 9% decline in the adult penguin population.
Current models by the UN’s panel of climate scientists predict an average increase of 0.2 degrees a decade for the next two decades.
The body of a minke whale and its calf are dragged onto the whaling ship
The Australian Federal Government says photographs taken by the Customs ship the Oceanic Viking of Japanese whalers killing a whale and its calf will strengthen any legal case against the whalers.
The pictures, released by the Government today, show a slaughtered minke whale and its calf being hauled up the ramp of the Japanese ship, the Yushin Maru.
Customs has also released video of whales being harpooned from the ship.
The Government is extending the duration of its whaling surveillance program and says the Attorney-General is still considering what kind of legal action should be taken and who it should be brought against.
Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett says the pictures released today support Australia’s position.
‘I think it’s explicitly clear from these images that this is indiscriminate killing of whales, where you have a whale and its calf killed in this way,’ he said.
‘To claim that this is in anyway scientific is to continue the charade that surrounded this issue from day one.’
As part of a dramatic non-violent protest against the whaling fleet’s activities in the Southern Ocean, Jetske and Heath placed their inflatable boat between the factory ship and refueling vessel, as the massive two ships tried to come alongside to refuel.
However, despite radio calls explaining our protest and plan, the vessels continued to close in on each other — and after half an hour, the inflable was forced out, with Jetske nearly getting caught by a cable. Only then did the refuelling begin.