Unhappy feet on a treadmill?

Scientific research or unusual treatment? Scientists from Birmingham University are researching more on the subject of global warming. It’s been widely hypothesized that penguins are one of the keys to detecting this. These king penguins live in the sub-Antarctic islands and the scientists believe that the fish the penguins eat will move further south to colder waters due to the ocean’s increasing temperature.  The scientists have fitted 50 of these penguins with monitors that keep track of different things such as their heart rate, location, surrounding pressure (to track water depth), and the temperature at the back of its throat (to signal when the bird has swallowed a fish).

With all scientific research, a control environment is needed. To do this, 10 penguins were placed on treadmills so their heart rates and breathing rate could be measured. This does make sense as they’re just trying find a baseline for their research. This doesn’t sound too bad at first except for the fact that the treadmills are placed within a clear and sealed plastic box.  Why sealed? They are also measuring the amount of oxygen the penguins are using up. That’s what strikes me as a tad unusual about this research. I would think that placing an animal inside an airtight container would be classified as cruel.

The birds were, of course, released back into the wild but I’m sure their stay couldn’t have been that pleasant. I’m sure this portion of the control research could have been done in the wild although it probably would have taken a longer time to get the data they wanted. I would also think that with science, patience is key. Overall, I’m fine with the monitors but I think the treadmill idea could have been avoided. A video of one of the penguins during this research after the cut.

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2 Comments

Filed under Animals, News, Penguin, Sad, Video

2 responses to “Unhappy feet on a treadmill?

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