Why are there no penguins in the Arctic?
Ever wondered why the Arctic doesn't have penguins? Ellen Husain explains
Where do penguins live?
Besides a lone species unique to the Galápagos Islands on the equator, penguins live only in the Southern Hemisphere – everywhere from Antarctica to various remote islands and the southern coasts of Africa, Australia, New Zealand and South America.
But why? Contrary to popular belief, they’re not specifically dependent on a cold climate, but on nutrient-rich waters that sustain a productive enough food-chain to keep them in fish. In the tropical Galápagos and Peru, this is delivered by upwellings of deep oceanic water.
Why aren't there penguins in the Arctic?
It’s likely penguins haven’t spread further north because flightlessness limits their ability to migrate and, moving north from here, there are vast zones of less productive tropical waters before the next big upwellings. Being ground-nesting and unable to fly, penguins are also restricted to places without land predators, so would be vulnerable in the Arctic with its foxes, wolves and polar bears.
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