13 Jan '11, 12am

The use of metal bands to track penguins could be causing the seabirds harm instead, a new study says

In this file picture taken on July 1, 2007, a colony of king penguins huddle together on Possession Island in the Crozet archipelago in the Austral seas. -- PHOTO: AFP WASHINGTON - SOME scientists studying penguins may be inadvertently harming them with the metal bands they use to keep track of the black and white seabirds, a new French study says. The survival rate of King penguins with metal bands on their flippers was 44 per cent lower than those without bands and banded birds produced far fewer chicks, according to new research published on Wednesday in the journal Nature. The theory is that the metal bands - either aluminum or stainless steel - increase drag on the penguins when they swim, making them work harder, the study's authors said. Author Yvon Le Maho of the University of Strasbourg in France, said the banded penguins looked haggard, appearing older than their...

Full article: http://www.straitstimes.com/BreakingNews/TechandScience/S...

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