Thanks to 16 'hidden' cameras planted around Antarctica, researchers have captured images of penguin colonies going about their business during the frozen continent's harsh winter months — rare images indeed, since the brutal conditions makes it impossible for humans to work there in the winter.
Researchers from the Zoological Society of London set up time-lapse cameras on the continent and on sub-Antarctic South Georgia Island to capture aspects of the penguin life cycle that typically go unseen.
The camera traps, weighted down with rocks, were placed in a variety of positions overlooking penguin colonies in Antarctica. They spied gentoo penguins on the Antarctic Peninsula, and kept watch on king penguins on South Georgia Island.
Snow buried the camera staking out the gentoo penguins for part of the winter, but the hardy camera kept on filming.
Each camera trap captured several images a day, which have been compiled into a video revealing the penguins' movements, breeding activity, and the arrival of a new generation of fuzzy young chicks.
"Antarctica is one of the world's least explored regions, making it all the more important for us to collect worthwhile data on wildlife," ZSL researcher Ben Collen said in a statement. "New information is vital for making informed conservation decisions, so we are able to best manage species under pressure and deal with the wider global implications of climate change."
With the help of cameras traveling aboard satellites, British researchers recently uncovered several undiscovered colonies of emperor penguins in Antarctica, roughly doubling the population estimate for the iconic birds.