Disappearing Penguins


Maarten van Rouveroy van Nieuwaal


14 min 54 secs


United Kingdom


‘Disappearing Penguins’ follows a team of driven researchers as they undertake the first survey of chinstrap penguin populations on Elephant Island for nearly 50 years. 


Earlier this year, Steven Forrest, Noah Strycker, Vikrant Shah and Yang Liu used hand counts and drone surveys to tally penguin colony numbers on the Antarctic island made famous by Shackleton’s crew stranding. Their initial findings found that penguin numbers have fallen by  nearly 60% in 50 years, a staggering amount.  Likely as a result of the climate crisis  and less availability of their main source of food, krill. Since penguins are an important indicator for the health of this polar ecosystem, these results are a dramatic sign that the climate breakdown is hitting Antarctica hard.


The research was facilitated by Greenpeace aboard their ship Esperanza and the survey continued onto other islands on the Antarctic Peninsula as the expedition continued.  It was the final stop of Greenpeace’s Pole to Pole voyage highlighting both the beauty and many threats facing our oceans today, while campaigning for a Global Ocean Treaty covering all seas outside of national waters.

-From the filmmakers: Special thanks to Steven Forrest, Noah Strycker, Vikrant Shah, Yang Liu, Stony Brook & North Eastern Universities, the crew of the Esperanza and Alison Sudol who narrated this documentary short.