Footage shows a male penguin stealing a pebble from another male to impress a female, with other images showing two penguins having a fight as mating season gets into full swing in the Antarctic.
The first piece of footage shows a Gentoo penguin wandering up to another penguin’s nest and stealing a pebble from it. It takes the stone over to its mate on the other side of a large rock before cheekily returning for a second pebble.
The second piece of footage shows two other Gentoo penguins getting into a fight as the mating season in the Antarctic gets going.
Newsflash obtained both pieces of footage from Marta Dzyndra, 40, who is from the western Ukrainian city of Lviv and working as a biologist with the 27th Ukrainian Antarctic expedition, and she said: “This is my first winter in Antarctica. We carry out all research within the framework of the state programme.
“I research the smallest but no less interesting inhabitants of the ocean, namely bacteria and phytoplankton. Also, together with colleagues, we monitor birds and mammals.”
Dzyndra, working at the National Antarctic Science Centre, added: “As for penguins, there are about 2,000 of them on the island now.”
She said: “I like to watch them also because it is interesting and fun. Now they are in the mating season.”
Speaking about the footage, she said: “Here in this video, there is a fight between penguins, The video was shot on Galindez Island, where the Vernadsky Research Base is located.”
Dzyndra explained: “They also arrange fights with neighbours and steal stones. Small pebbles are a real treasure that can be brought to the nest by the male.”
Gentoo penguins are typically monogamous, with infidelity often leading to the offending individual being banished from their colony. They also use the stones they collect to build their nests.
Dzyndra said: “More pebbles means more chances. You can steal pebbles from a neighbour, although it can end in a fight. And also penguins are very funny, courting by bowing to each other.
“There are no chicks and eggs yet. It will also be the first time for me to see a baby. These penguins are Gentoo penguins.”
Dzyndra said that she is a “winter girl” and is not bothered by the temperature, which has so far reached minus 8 degrees Celsius. She said: “I’m a winter girl, so I just enjoy it. I love snow and the cold. Therefore, these are ideal conditions for me.
“The only thing here are strong gusts of wind. This is also exciting in its own way, but it does not allow working in the sea.”
Speaking about how her loved ones feel about her being in such a remote place, she said: “My parents died a long time ago. And I’m not married. My family, my friends who helped, believed in me and are very, very happy with me.
“I actually have six godchildren who also love to listen to my stories. The biggest thing that hurts and worries us here is the war. As for families, you can’t go with your family here. Here the station is scientific. It sounds sad, but in reality, I am a happy person.
“And here I am fulfilling an old dream!”
The Ukrainian National Antarctic Science Centre said in a statement about the first piece of footage, on 18th October: “Friends, remember we told you that our neighbours – subantarctic penguins – build nests from stones and steal each other’s ‘building material’? Because of this, there are even noisy tussles and fights between the birds!
“The moment when a lone penguin stole from the nest of another, was just filmed by Marta Dzindra, a biologist of the 27th Ukrainian Antarctic expedition.
“However, the robbed owner reacted calmly and only hinted that he saw everything. What do you think, is it natural politeness or did he just ‘borrow’ those stones from some neighbour?
“Observing Antarctic animals is an integral part of the work of our biologists. In particular, they constantly count penguins, their nests, laid eggs and young, to monitor the dynamics of these animals. And at this time, how many more interesting things can be seen and filmed! We thank our polar explorers for sharing such moments.”
The gentoo penguin (Pygoscelis papua) is a penguin species that mainly lives on crustaceans, such as krill and shrimp, and fish.
They can be found in the Antarctic, the Falkland Islands, as well as on other islands in the region, and are listed as a species of least concern on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species despite rapid declined in recent times in key areas.
The total breeding population is currently estimated to be over 600,000 birds.
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Story By: Joseph Golder, Sub-Editor: Marija Stojkoska, Agency: Newsflash
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