New Penguin Colony Discovered by Viking Expedition in Antarctica

Viking® has made a groundbreaking discovery in Antarctica with the support of its expedition team. The team uncovered a new colony of chinstrap penguins on Diaz Rock, near Astrolabe Island, which was previously unknown to science. This remarkable finding occurred during a visit in January 2024 by Viking’s expedition vessel, the Viking Octantis®, to Astrolabe Island, located in the Bransfield Strait of the Trinity Peninsula in Antarctica. The island is home to a colony of chinstrap penguins that had not been surveyed since 1987.

The expedition team’s scientific partner, Oceanites, conducted a visual and thermal aerial survey, marking the first survey in almost 40 years of the known colony on Astrolabe Island and the subsequent discovery of the additional colony on Diaz Rock. Oceanites plans to release further details from the survey in a forthcoming scientific paper.

Viking’s dedication to meaningful scientific discovery is evident in every expedition voyage on the Viking Octantis® and its sister ship, the Viking Polaris®. This commitment follows the publication of Viking’s first scientific paper in the journal Polar Research last year, detailing encounters with rare giant phantom jellyfish in Antarctica.

Viking has established a leading scientific enrichment environment through partnerships with reputable academic institutions. The expedition voyages feature visiting researchers from partner institutions as part of the multidisciplinary expedition team, leading guests through scientific research, providing interpretations, and delivering lectures.

Oceanites, a renowned American not-for-profit field research entity, has been a key scientific partner for Viking, focusing on Antarctic penguin monitoring. The partnership involves mobilizing penguin researchers on Viking’s Antarctic expeditions and providing thermal cameras for fieldwork.

Dr. Grant Humphries, Director of Science at Oceanites, expressed the significance of the discovery, stating that locating and mapping a new penguin colony allows for a better understanding of Antarctic penguin population dynamics amidst an evolving world.

Various other esteemed scientific partners, such as the University of Cambridge’s Scott Polar Research Institute, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and NOAA’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, collaborate with Viking to conduct research during expeditions.

Viking’s voyages to Antarctica, the Arctic, and North America’s Great Lakes on vessels like the Viking Octantis® offer guests the opportunity to engage in expeditions designed for discovery in remote destinations, providing unparalleled viewing areas to witness the breathtaking scenery up close.

For more information on Viking Expeditions, visit Viking.com.

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