Way out in the middle of the Indian Ocean, somewhere between Antarctica and Africa, wildlife photographer Stefano Unterthiner forged his way up a volcanic ridge and, when he finally reached the summit, stared out at the sea. Strangely, the sea appeared to be white and black, and spotted with orange — it also appeared to be waddling. Unterthiner was staring at the sea of king penguins gathered on Possession Island in the Crozet archipelago — tens of thousands of them ready for mating season. His photos appear in National Geographic's September story, "Every Bird a King."
Penguins are known as being "serially monogamist." Mating pairs remain together at least until their young are self-sufficient. Unterthiner is something of a monogamist as well: When he chooses to tell an animal's story, he stays with them for an extended period of time. A relatively new member of the International League of Conservation Photographers, he has authored five wildlife books, although this is his first appearance in National Geographic.
To learn more about the story behind these penguins, read the article on ngm.com.
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