Gentoo Penguin with a pebble

Wanted: An unknown penguin, preferably alive.
Description: Black and white suit, with characteristic white mask and with orange feet and bill.
Crime: the theft of at least one pebble, probably more.

While watching the spectacular new BBC documentary Frozen Planet, I had to think of this picture.  Antarctic penguins make their nest of pebbles, mainly because there isn’t anything else to make a nest with. However, there always seems to be a shortage of pebbles. This results in a large criminal community among penguins. They keep on stealing their neighbors pebbles. However, while doing so, other stones are being stolen from their own nest. This penguin however was quite smart. He didn’t steal pebbles from nest in his own colony, but from a colony some hundred meters away. At least this increased the total amount of pebbles in his own colony.
I didn’t stay to see how many pebbles were left in his own nest…

Arjen Drost

Arjen is a Polar ecologist, nature photographer and full time expedition guide on expedition cruise ships in both Polar regions. With his pictures and stories he likes to show the beauty of these very fragile and threatened places.


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