If you’re familiar with the Froot Loops mascot, Toucan Sam, you know that he tells you to “follow your nose.” It’s been the mascot’s catchphrase for quite some time now, and apparently some wildlife researchers took his advice, because poop stains led them to a supercolony of penguins. Surely, this isn’t what Toucan Sam meant, but it’s still pretty incredible.
The secluded area known as the Danger Islands (sounds like a place for a James Bond villain to inhabit) is home to roughly 1.5 million penguins. And apparently they are all breeding at the same time, leaving a rancid stench wafting through the Antarctic air. Before the discovery, the area was seldom researched, and no one knew it would be home to one of the largest colonies of Adélie penguins in the world.
Michael Polito, one of the authors of the new study on the penguins, said, “Not only do the Danger Islands hold the largest population of Adélie penguins on the Antarctic Peninsula, they also appear to have not suffered the population declines found along the western side of the Antarctic Peninsula that are associated with recent climate change.”
After looking at some satellite photos of the Danger Islands, the scientists noticed extremely large amounts of penguin poop and decided it needed to be researched. Aren’t you glad you’re not a scientist now?
This helped put the researchers at ease because they’d been worried about penguins’ supposedly dwindling population. They can now rest easy knowing that the animals are still alive and pooping all over the place.