Strangely colored King penguin never photographed before appeared in front of amazed photographer
Text and drawing by Frits Ahlefeldt
The Belgian photographer Yves Adams couldn’t believe his eyes, looking out over the sea, just as the Zodiac boat reached the Antarctica island of South Georgia. Out in the sea among a group of King penguins he could see a strange looking penguin. Checking in his binoculars, there was no doubt it was a King penguin, not black, but yellow
Yves Adams ( Website ) grabbed his camera and took the first photos of the rare variant of King penguin – “it was spectacular” he later told in a National Geographic story
Sketch ref number: dc00022 – Frits Ahlefeldt
Experts believe the yellow penguin won’t survive long, being an easy target for both leopard seals and orca whales
The rare yellow variant of the King penguin ( Aptenodytes patagonicus ) had never been photographed before – and now experts discus what the strange yellow variant can have be caused by.
The yellow King penguin does have some color, so it is not an albino. But still something went wrong, as the melanin that color the other black and yellow penguins seems to be missing more or less here.
Allison Schultz, curator of ornithology at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles tells in a story in Audubon National Society, that she thinks the yellow King penguin has what is called ” leucism” (Vikipedia link ) A condition where the melanin color production not is absent, but not functioning 100% either.
To know for sure it would be needed to capture the penguin, an extremely hard thing to do as it fast disappeared among thousand of other penguins on the remote island.
And experts fear it might soon loose its life, as its colors will make it stand out as an easy targets for some of the main predators of King penguins: Orca whales and Leopard seals.
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Keywords: drawnjournalism, visual journalism, concepts, pencil, drawing, news, journalistik, tegnetjournalistik, visuel journalistik, visualjournalism drawn journalism, yellow-king-penguin, Aptenodytes patagonicus, leucism