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Antarctica study: Iceberg nearly erases penguin population

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Magellanic penguins are seen in Magdalena Island, located in the Strait of Magellan near Chile's southern tip, where tens of thousands of penguins come every year to breed, on February 14, 2016. The Magellanic penguin (Spheniscus magellanicus) is a South American penguin breeding in coastal Argentina, Chile and the Falkland Islands, with some migrating to Brazil where they are occasionally seen as far north as Rio de Janeiro. AFP PHOTO / MARTIN BERNETTI / AFP / MARTIN BERNETTI (Photo credit should read MARTIN BERNETTI/AFP/Getty Images)

SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) — A new scientific study says an estimated 150,000 Adelie penguins have died in Cape Denison, Antarctica in the five years since a giant iceberg blocked their main access to food.

The research was recently published in the journal Antarctic Science.

It says a 60-mile (97-kilometer) iceberg crashed and got stuck in Commonwealth Bay, blocking access to their natural feeding areas starting in December 2010. The huge piece of ice forced the birds to walk more than 37 miles (60 kilometers) in search of food, gradually reducing the population to just a few thousand.

The survey was conducted in 2013-14 by scientists at The Climate Change Research Center at the University of New South Wales in Australia and New Zealand’s West Coast Penguin Trust.

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