Pilfering Penguin Caught on Tape
Wanted: Adult male black and white Adelie penguin on charges of grand theft rock.
Suspect was last seen on Ross Island, Antartica by a BBC film crew. Video evidence shows the suspect snatching stones from his neighbor’s nest. The one-and-half-foot-tall suspect was last seen wearing what appeared to be a tuxedo, unfortunately so were 250,000 other penguins in the area.
The pilfering penguin was caught on tape by a film crew working on the documentary Frozen Planet. The crew has spent the last four months on Ross Island, reported the BBC.
Penguins regularly steal stones from each other, but the shot was hard to come by for cameraman Mark Smith because of the constant Antarctic anarchy of the penguin colony.
For one thing, curious penguins kept peeking directly into the lens of his camera.
“It’s appealing at first, but when it happens for the hundredth time as you’re trying to get the shots you need, you start to lose patience,” said Smith in an interview with the BBC.
“It’s a testament to Mark’s patience and presence of mind, that he managed to leave the camera running and capture that moment,” Jeff Wilson, director of the shoot, told the BBC.
Male penguins build their nests from stones to keep eggs safe from the run-off of melting ice. The male with the biggest nest gives the greatest survival advantage to his offspring and is therefore also likely to get the penguin princess of his dreams.
The sight of hundreds of thousands of penguins setting up their nests reminded Wilson of the tents at a festival, kind of a frozen Burning Man penguin party.
“Adelies are like festival-goers that have had too much caffeine,” Wilson said. “They’re aggressive and hyperactive.”
Adelie penguin colony (Wikimedia Commons)
Adelie penguins guard their nest with chicks (Wikimedia Commons)