Updated March 26th, 2024 at 08:37 IST

Meet 'Maruti': India's Research Centre in Antarctica Receives Unexpected Visitor

The Indian Bharati station is located on an island very close to the main Antarctic Ice sheet.

Reported by: Manisha Roy
The penguin has been named as Maruti by the research staff | Image:X/@iamkrishradha
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New Delhi: To its surprise, an Indian Antarctic Station in Antarctica received an unusual guest, a penguin. This was the first time that a penguin visited the research station. The Indian Bharati station is located on an island very close to the main Antarctic Ice sheet.

Sharing visuals of the penguin near the area, Radha Krishna Kavuluru, an engineer at an aerospace firm, wrote, “I found these foot prints one day while I was stationed at Indian Antarctic Station. It was almost Summer-Winter transition then. I followed these foot prints for 1400 meters and in midst of little rocks I found a guest.”

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Why penguin was named 'Maruti' 

The penguin has been named as Maruti by the research staff. Revealing the reason why it was named Maruti, Kavuluru wrote that he was named Maruti as it means ‘son of wind’ and as the penguin ventured into an ice desert alone where the wind took him. According to Kavuluru, the penguin stayed at the island for 13 days and it came close to the research base on the 14th day. 

He wrote, “He visited our station before any other penguins did. Indian Bharati station is on an island very close to the main Antarctic Ice sheet. We named him Maruti. He spent 13 days on the Island and on the 14th day this happened.”

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‘Maruti’ was soon reunited with its family as they came looking for it as soon as the ocean melted around the island.

He further wrote, “His family came searching for him as the ocean melted around the island and our Maruti happily joined them. We were all mere spectators to this story unravelling before us. As Humans we have to stay very far from their eco system to not disturb it. Until next time Maruti (end).

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Maruti belonged to the Adelie breed. Along with Emperor penguins, Adelie penguins are the most southerly breeding penguin on earth. Named after the wife of French explorer Dumont d’Urville who discovered the penguins in 1840. Adelie penguins are one of the smallest penguins in the Antarctic with an average height of 68 cm. Adelie colonies are loud and messy affairs. They can be heard and smelt long before they are seen.

During the winter, the birds migrate to the outlying pack ice areas where temperatures are slightly warmer and in summer they migrate back towards the continent. Because of this, Adelie penguins often have to travel up to 100 km in the spring to find a nesting ground.

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Know more about Adelie penguin: 

  • Adelie penguins are roughly 65-70 cm tall and weigh 5 kg (11 lb).
  • Mostly, they prefer eating krill but can also eat fish and small squid. Adelie penguins generally only dive to about 20 meters.
  • They breed between November and February. Their colonies are very large and noisy.
  • There are an estimated 5 million Adelie penguins. This number seems to be increasing.
  • Adelie penguins have a circumpolar distribution and are generally found on pack ice near the coast.
  • Adelie penguins have recently been classed as ‘near threatened’ by the IUCN due to climate change.
  • Leopard seals are their main predators. Chicks are often preyed upon by Skuas.
     
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Published March 26th, 2024 at 08:37 IST