The Animals Of Antarctica

Colony of King Penguins
Colony of King Penguins
King Penguins form large breeding colonies, such as this one on South Georgia Island. The breeding cycle lasts 14-16 months, so the colony is always occupied. These penguins attempt to breed every year but are usually only successful every other year or twice in three years. (Photo Credit: Jordan Spielman)
Colony of King Penguins
Colony of King Penguins
This breeding colony of King Penguins numbers over 100,000. Penguins come and go, but this colony spends the year near St. Andrews Bay on South Georgia Island. These penguins breed in the northern areas of Antarctica and neighboring islands. The world's population of King Penguins exceeds 2.3 million pairs. (Photo Credit: Jordan Spielman)
King Penguins cleaning themselves
King Penguins cleaning themselves
King Penguins are the second largest species of penguins, at about 3 feet tall and and 24-35 pounds. They have four layers of feathers to protect themselves from the extreme southern climate. The outer layer is oiled and waterproof, while the inner layers are down, making them extremely warm. (Photo Credit: Jordan Spielman)
Young King Penguin
Young King Penguin
This King Penguin is in the process of molting. King Penguin chicks are born with fur, to protect them from the harsh climate. But the fur won't keep them warm enough in the water. So they stay on land for 14-16 months, until they're ready to go to sea. (Photo Credit: Jordan Spielman)
Young King Penguin
Young King Penguin
This King Penguin is further along in the molting process. It will soon shed its furry hood and grow the outer feathers that will protect it in the water. Until that point, this penguin relies on its parents to bring food. Not being ready to swim makes this penguin more susceptible to predators. (Photo Credit: Jordan Spielman)
Young King Penguins
Young King Penguins
Sailors called young King Penguins, "Oakum Boys," because their brown, fluffy plumage resembles the color of oakum, used to caulk timbers on sailing ships, These year-old penguins will soon shed their fluffy brown plumage and adopt the colors of an adult. At that point, they'll be ready to go to sea. (Photo Credit: Jordan Spielman)
Baby fur seal
Baby fur seal
The Antarctic fur seal breeds almost exclusively at South Georgia Island near Antarctica. Very heavily hunted in the 18th and 19th centuries, this seal was thought to be extinct by the early 20th century. It has since thrived under the protection of the governments that control the waters where it lives. (Photo Credit: Jordan Spielman)
Baby fur seal
Baby fur seal
A baby fur seal is called a pup. It is weaned at about 4 months, after which time it will head out to sea, often for years. This seal will grow to over 6 feet long and 200 pounds, though males tend to be larger than females. (Photo Credit: Jordan Spielman)
Baby fur seals
Baby fur seals
A recent study found that climate change can affect fur seal pups in their first few months of life. Wetter and windier conditions are predicted for Antarctica in the coming years. Young fur seals will expend more energy keeping warm and, thus, less energy growing and developing. (Photo Credit: Jordan Spielman)
Baby fur seal
Baby fur seal
A baby fur seal gets most of its energy from its mother's milk. Less availability of prey, due to a worsening climate, may lead them to conserve that energy and continue to rely on the mother. The baby fur seal will then have trouble sustaining itself without that source of nutrition. (Photo Credit: Jordan Spielman)
Fur seal
Fur seal
When not breeding, the fur seal spends most of its time at sea chasing its prey. That prey includes squid, krill and medium-size fish. They've even been known to go after sea birds, specifically penguins. (Photo Credit: Jordan Spielman)
Humpback Whale
Humpback Whale
This Humpback Whale is playing with the ship, surfacing on one side before swimming underneath to the other side. These whales can grow up to about 52 feet long and weigh up to almost 80,000 pounds. They're found in oceans all over the world, including the Southern Ocean near Antarctica. (Photo Credit: Jordan Spielman)
Humpback Whale
Humpback Whale
The typical humpback whale will migrate up to 16,000 miles each year. They spend summers feeding on krill and small fish in polar waters and then travel toward the equator to mate and breed during cooler months. In the winter, they live off of their fat reserves. (Photo Credit: Jordan Spielman)
Humpback Whale
Humpback Whale
Humpback whales, particularly the males, produce loud "songs" that can last up to 24 hours. Whales within a given area will all sing the same song. Scientists speculate that a male whale will sing to attract females or to challenge to other males. (Photo Credit: Jordan Spielman)
Humpback Whale
Humpback Whale
The Humpback Whale was on the brink of extinction in the mid-1960s, with a population of about 5,000. The formation of the International Whaling Commission and stricter hunting laws have allowed population numbers to rise significantly. Current worldwide population is now estimated at 80,000. (Photo Credit: Jordan Spielman)
Chinstrap Penguin
Chinstrap Penguin
Chinstrap Penguins, which can grow up to 3 feet and weigh up to 13 pounds, like to nest in cliffs. To lay their eggs, they choose nesting sites hundreds of yards above the waterline that blow free of snow early in the season. (Photo Credit: Jordan Spielman)
Chinstrap Penguin
Chinstrap Penguin
The Chinstrap Penguin thrives on barren islands and large icebergs in and around the Antarctic Peninsula. They'll swim 50 miles offshore each day in search of krill, shrimp and fish. (Photo Credit: Jordan Spielman)
Gentoo Penguin
Gentoo Penguin
A Gentoo Penguin can be identified by the orange beak and wide stripe crossing its head. It is the third largest of the penguins, growing to about 3 feet and 20 pounds, but also the fastest swimmer. (Photo Credit: Jordan Spielman)
Gentoo Penguin
Gentoo Penguin
The Gentoo Penguin thrives in cold and harsh climates. They like to nest and breed on ice-free surfaces, often well inland from the coast. Nests are usually made of relatively large stones, prized by females and fought over by males. (Photo Credit: Jordan Spielman)
Gentoo Penguins
Gentoo Penguins
These 3 Gentoo Penguins are walking near Stromness, the South Georgia Island whaling station. Major populations can be found here and on the Antarctic Peninsula. The worldwide population is estimated at 300,000 breeding pairs, placing it on the Near Threatened list. (Photo Credit: Jordan Spielman)
Elephant seal
Elephant seal
Elephant seals prosper around the Antarctic continent. South Georgia Island is home to the largest sub-population in the South Atlantic, with over 400,000 individuals. (Photo Credit: Jordan Spielman)
Elephant seals
Elephant seals
Elephant seals are very territorial, often fighting over mates. A male will threaten another male by raising up on his front flippers and vocalizing. If one of the seals doesn't lay down and submit, a fight ensues, with the two males lunging at each other. (Photo Credit: Jordan Spielman)
Elephant seal
Elephant seal
An elephant seal lounges on a beach near the Antarctic Peninsula. These seals can grow to over 15 feet long and 3 tons in weight. The elephant seal was hunted to near extinction in the 19th century but the population recovered to over half a million animals. (Photo Credit: Jordan Spielman)
Elephant seals
Elephant seals
In more recent years, the elephant seal population has once again started declining. Scientists theorize that it may be the result from declining numbers in the seal's main food sources. (Photo Credit: Jordan Spielman)

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