Viking Announces Discovery of New Penguin Colony in Antarctica

A new penguin colony

Viking announced its expedition team supported the discovery of a new colony of chinstrap penguins not previously known to science on Diaz Rock, near Astrolabe Island, in Antarctica, according to a press release.

The finding took place in January 2024 when the Viking Octantis visited Astrolabe Island located in the Bransfield Strait of the Trinity Peninsula in Antarctica.

Astrolabe Island is home to a colony of chinstrap penguins that had not been surveyed since 1987.

During the visit, Viking’s scientific partner, Oceanites, conducted the first survey in nearly 40 years of the known chinstrap penguin colony and discovered the additional colony on Diaz Rock. Additional details will be revealed in a scientific paper to follow in due course, the company said in a press release.

“With our third season in Antarctica underway, we are pleased to have supported another significant scientific development that will allow for further understanding of the region,” said Torstein Hagen, chairman of Viking. “From the thoughtful design of our expedition vessels, each with a well-appointed Science Lab, to our partnerships with some of the world’s most prestigious institutions, our intention has always been to provide our guests and scientists with opportunities for meaningful discovery during each voyage. We look forward to supporting other critical research opportunities on future voyages.”

“The Antarctic peninsula is well-traveled and explored, and it is not often we find a new penguin colony,” said Dr. Grant Humphries, director of science at Oceanites. “Our partnership with Viking opened a new opportunity to not only count the chinstrap penguins on Astrolabe Island for the first time since the 1980s, but it also allowed us to locate and map a colony of chinstrap penguins previously unknown to us. This work will allow us to get a better understanding of how Antarctic penguin population dynamics are shifting in an ever-changing world.”

“Viking’s expedition vessels continue to showcase the potential of reimagined ‘ships of opportunity’ and the research capabilities available for scientific efforts,” said Dr. Damon Stanwell-Smith, head of science and sustainability at Viking. “With scientists from our partner organizations on board, like Oceanites, we can conduct real, meaningful research in the regions. We look forward to continuing our partnership with Oceanites and other science partners to bring more findings forward in the future.”     

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