What’s the biggest group of animals ever recorded on Earth?

What’s the biggest group of animals ever recorded on Earth?

In early 2020, ornithologist Noah Strycker found himself walking amongst several thousand chinstrap penguins on Elephant Island, a remote blip of snow-covered rock just off the Antarctic Peninsula. He was there to carry out a census of the island’s penguin colony, which hadn’t been properly surveyed since 1970. “I’ll never forget the sight, sound, and…smell,” joked Strycker, a graduate student at Stony Brook University in New York, as well as a professional bird watcher, and author.

The survey that he and his colleagues eventually produced revealed that chinstrap penguin numbers are in decline. But despite this, this species actually forms the biggest colony of penguins on Earth – gathering in the millions in some Antarctic locations. But counting these animals doesn’t daunt Strycker, who has actually developed something of a hobby for this task. 

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