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Gentoo penguin  (Pygoscelis papua papua - southern subspecies)
young chick on nest

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Looking as cute as any baby bird can, penguin chicks of this age are food processing machines. With a relatively late start to the season compared to many other birds and the need to leave early before it begins to get cold with the threat of sea-ice arriving, Antarctic animals have to grow fast to survive.

This shot taken with only a moderate telephoto lens shows how close you can get to the nest without disturbing the penguins or chicks. This was taken on Signy Island part of the South Orkneys group when the only humans that the wildlife encountered were occasional scientists who lived at the scientific base elsewhere on the island. Increasing tourist pressure on certain regions of Antarctica, particularly around the Antarctic Peninsula mean that for many people who visit the Antarctic, it is not possible to take such pictures. If the tourists that visited were allowed to get this close to the wildlife on a regular basis, the wildlife would soon up sticks and disappear.
 

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Photo; © Paul Ward - Pentax equipment, 100mm lens, 35mm film, K64.
This picture may not be copied or used in any manner without prior written permission.

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