15 Jan '11, 5pm

What irony... Penguin survival rates fall when scientists tag their flippers

PARIS - Tagging the flippers of penguins for long-term scientific studies significantly limits their chances of survival and ability to raise chicks, according to a decade-long study in the Antarctic. In the new study, published this week by French researchers in Nature, 100 penguins, half of them with the bands and half without, were followed over 10 years. The survival rates for king penguins with "flipper bands" dropped by 16 per cent and the birds produced 39 per cent fewer chicks. The finding raises serious questions about the ethics of banding penguins for research and casts doubt on years of data produced by tagging the birds in this way. Flipper banding, a technique that involves placing a band usually made of stainless steel under penguin flippers, is used by some researchers to identify them and gather long-term information about their behaviour and ecology. The ...

Full article: http://www.todayonline.com/Science/EDC110115-0000167/Peng...

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