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  • Polar Bears in Antarctica?

    A few people asked me if I saw any polar bears during my recent trip to Antarctica. No, I didn't. Polar bears live in the Arctic. If you want to see them, either go to Canada (where 60% of them live) or get to some other Arctic location, like Point Barrow, Alaska. Find out more about them and their melting habitat on David Suzuki's website.

    One person asked me if I met any Antarctica natives. In fact, I met several thousands of them. They live there only part of the year, so you might argue they don't qualify as natives. Unfortunately we had a big communication problem. I don't speak penguin. Penguins are very communicative with each other. After watching them for awhile, I could understand their primary motivation in life—fish and reproduction. A few seem to have some other interests, like racing! This photo shows a Chinstrap and an Adele penguin raceing. (All photos copyright Glen Gould 2010.)

  • A Penguin in Your Zodiac?

    What do you do when a penguin jumps in your boat? Snap a photo of the penguin if the boat is landed. If you are in the boat and a leopard seal is chasing the penguin, toss the penguin back into the water—FAST! You don't want a hungry leopard seal in the boat. The seal will grab the penguin by its feet and smack it around until it's dead.

    Leopard seals supposedly perform some fancy flipping maneuver that effectively skins the penguin, but I've also read the seal simply keeps flailing the penguin until it gets ripped into eatable pieces. The prospect of such a gruesome death is probably why a penguin flees so fast and will take the opportunity to jump into a Zodiac if it happens to be around. The Adelie penguin in this photo is just curious. No one chasing him. (Photo courtesy of Polar Star expedition staff.)