Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Grief of the penguins: Scores of birds bowed in mourning after the deaths of their chicks

Prostrate on the icy tundra of the Antarctic, they appear the picture of misery after the deaths of their chicks.

The extraordinary image capturing penguins in an act of mass mourning was taken on the Riiser Larsen Ice Shelf in Antarctica by photographer Daniel J. Cox.

He has spent 25 years travelling from pole to pole documenting everything from polar bears to penguins and getting up close and personal is all in a day's work.

'Part of my job is to accept that with the spectacular sights of nature also come the stark facts of life, and to see Emperor Penguins mourning in a human-like way over the death of their chicks is heart-wrenching,' he said.

'They hunch over like they are in a state of grief and they wander around the frozen ice wastes attempting to locate their chicks.

'It is difficult to say how and why they died, but I was told by other scientists that it was not unheard of.

'Weather and things like starvation, if there is a food shortage, can cause this kind of sad event.'Read more...