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Contrary to the fears of some, penguins and people do mix

[2019.07.12, Fri 02:20] Most of these landings take place on the Antarctic peninsula and its adjacent islands, with the intention of visiting colonies of gentoo penguins. A study just published in Polar Biology by Maureen Lynch of Stony Brook University, in New York, brings good news for penguins, tourists and tour-operators alike-for, as far as Dr Lynch can determine, the tourists' visits are not stressing the birds at all. The conventional way of deciding whether visits by tourists are stressful to the animals so visited is to recruit a bunch of PhD students to observe those animals and make copious behavioural observations when tourists are and are not present, in order that the two may be compared. An alternative is to sample the animals' blood and analyse it for stress hormones such as corticosterone. There is a third way, which is to look for stress hormones in animals' droppings. Dr Lynch knew from previous work by her collaborators at the University of Houston that corticosterone and its metabolites show up in penguin guano. A few of the sites sampled are hard to get to and never see tourists. Google the news >>

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