Did Bird flu kill thousands of penguins in Antarctica?

H5N1 has reached Antarctica | AFP

What happened?

In February 2024, Antarctica reported the first case of H5N1. The scientific community is concerned that it could decimate threatened penguin species. | AFP

The team:

A scientific expedition in March found at least 532 dead Adelie penguins. Federation University Australia worry that thousands more could have died due to bird flu. | AFP

Carcasses found:

The dead Adelie penguins were found frozen solid in the sub-zero temperatures and covered in snow on Heroina Island, Reuters reported. | AFP


Lack of manpower meant the scientists couldn't estimate the total number of penguin casualties on the island. | Reuters


According to the latest reports, field tests to find the reason for the deaths failed to prove beyond doubt that bird flu claimed the penguins' lives. Further tests are being done. (Representational image | AFP)

H5N1 confirmed:

However, the expedition did find the presence of H5 strain bird flu on the Antarctic peninsula and three nearby islands. | AFP

Endangered species further threatened

Among the species most threatened by H5N1 are the Emperor penguins. (X/Gary Miller, Auster Rookery)