A series of three stamp issues celebrating three ‘Heroes of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition’ was released on November 5th to mark the centenary of the arrival of the expedition at Grytviken whaling station.
The pathological loss of plumage or feather-loss disorder has been observed in penguins in South Africa and South America since 2006. Thereby, the insulating feathers, an important protection against the cold weather conditions, are falling out in many parts of the body. The cause of this disease remains unknown to date. It is even unclear whether the disease is viral or bacterial. On the positive side, the disease seems to be not as virulent as feared. Only a small numbers of individual birds have been reported to be affected so far.
The German research icebreaker Polarstern will end its current expedition to the Antarctic earlier than planned. Due to hydraulic problems in the port engine, the ship will return to Bremerhaven for repairs in mid-March.
Water temperatures in the West Antarctic shelf are rising. The reason for this increase lies in warmer waters rising from the deep due to climate change. Thus, it is likely to increase the melting of glaciers from below and the acceleration of glacial fluxes. These scenarios are predicted by scientists of the GEOMAR Helmholtz Center for Oceanography in Kiel, Germany together with colleagues from the United Kingdom, USA and Japan. The results of their study have been published in the international journal Science.
The UK Government has awarded the South Georgia Heritage Trust nearly £250,000 of funding, helping to secure the survival of one of the world’s most important seabird sanctuaries on the sub-Antarctic island of South Georgia. Supporting the world’s largest rat eradication, the grant comes from the Overseas Territories Environment and Climate Fund (Darwin Plus), an internationally renowned programme which gives funding to help protect some of the world’s most threatened species in the UK’s Overseas Territories. Ten other projects will receive grants thanks to £1.5 million of new government funding to protect biodiversity and the natural environment in the UK’s Overseas Territories.