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‘Never Seen Before’ Rare Yellow Penguin Spotted By Wildlife Photographer

Source: Facebook/Yves Adams

When you think of a penguin, you’re probably imagining an adorable bird with white and black skin. This is expected since everyone grew up with penguins being black and white. However, the history books have changed.

Recently, a wildlife photographer captured the most unusual penguin. He called his shot a ‘never before seen’ yellow penguin. How did he come across this golden opportunity? What do we know about this penguin? Read on to find out!

A Life-changing Expedition

Yves Adams is the explorer credited for this golden discovery. His story starts with his photography tour through Antarctica. He also planned to tour the South Atlantic for two months. However, the group stopped off near South Georgia’s wild islands.

Source: Facebook/Yves Adams – Nature Photographer

Nevertheless, Yves made the best of this situation and braved the ocean. After a while, the explorer and his guests reached Salisbury Plain. The place was beautiful and had a colony of 120,000 king penguins.

Gold Amongst Coal

Seeing a colony of penguins is a rare and satisfying sight. So, Yves and his crew took out their cameras to capture the moment. At first, the penguin huddle was the usual black and white color. However, something unusual stood out.

Source: Yves Adams

The group noticed a young penguin within the colony. It had bright yellow feathers instead of the typical black and white plumage. As a wildlife photographer, Yves wasted no time. He aimed his camera at the golden wonder and took several pictures.

Yves Was Excited About His Discovery

Capturing something thought to be impossible is exciting. It’s similar to when everyone thought swans were white until someone discovered a black swan. Therefore, it made sense for Yves Adams to be excited.

Source: Yves Adams

In an interview, Yves said: “I’d never seen or heard of a yellow penguin before. There were 120,000 birds on that beach, and this was the only yellow one there. They all looked normal except for this one. It was something else. It was an incredibly unique experience.”

Why Does The Penguin Have A Different Color?

While the yellow penguin looks beautiful, many wonder why it’s different. Is it another species? Is it a new step in penguin evolution? Or is it a rare genetic disorder? Yves revealed the answer as an expert.

Source: Facebook/Yves Adams – Nature Photographer

“This is a leucistic penguin. Its cells no longer create melanin, so its black feathers become this yellow and creamy.” This expansion seems simple, but some were still confused. Here’s why.

‘Isn’t That Just Albinism?’

Yves explained that the penguin got its colors because of leucism. This is a condition where the cells don’t make melanin. However, people online were confused. “Isn’t that just albinism?”. The short answer is no!

Source: Facebook/Yves Adams – Nature Photographer

Leucism and albinism are pretty similar. Both involve little to no melanin in the skin or feathers. But the difference still exists. In simple terms, albinism is the complete absence of melanin. On the other hand, leucism is only a partial loss of the pigment.

‘We Were Lucky The Bird Landed Nearby’

Yves explained how unlikely it is to come across such a discovery. First, the chances of finding a bird with leucism are low. Studies show this condition happens in 1 in 30,000 birds. The odds are even steeper with penguins.

Source: Facebook/Yves Adams – Nature Photographer

Yves expressed how lucky his group was to find the yellow penguin. He said: “We were so lucky the bird landed right where we were. A sea of massive animals didn’t block our view. If it had been 50 meters away, we wouldn’t have been able to get this shot of a lifetime.”

Yves Had This Photo Since 2019

While this discovery is recent, it’s not within the last 12 months. Surprisingly, Yves had this photo on his device since 2019 but didn’t release it. Why? The simple answer is that it was difficult to find.

Source: Facebook/Yves Adams – Nature Photographer

His 2019 tour with Quark Expeditions lasted eight weeks. This time was enough for Yves to take thousands of photos. However, the large number made it difficult to find his winning picture. Eventually, after several years, it finally made it to the public.

The Expedition Was A Childhood Dream

Touring the great outdoors is a hobby for many, including Yves. He mentioned his fascination with exploration and going to South Georgia. In other words, he’s dreamt of visiting this location for over 30 years.

Source: Facebook/Yves Adams – Nature Photographer

David Attenborough inspired his passion for this hobby. More specifically, his captivating documentary. Currently, Yves is a 43-year-old man. Which means his love for the great outdoors started in his early teens.

An Unforgettable Two Months

This young yellow penguin is one of Yves’ highlights in his career. He’s captured the attention of different news outlets and even experts. However, he says the trip was worth it, even if he never met the penguins.

Source: Facebook/Yves Adams – Nature Photographer

He said: “It was certainly worth it, even before we saw this yellow penguin. Seeing thousands of these birds on a rock in this massive, wild ocean.” This makes sense since South Georgia is known for its mesmerizing landscape.

Will This Discovery Change Zoology?

Discovering black swans was a big moment for the world. It changes global perceptions and the zoology books. Some people are wondering if the same applies here. Does discovering a yellow penguin change the books?

Source: Facebook/Yves Adams – Nature Photographer

Technically, no. Yves and his team made an exciting find. However, they didn’t discover a new species of penguins with yellow skin. This one merely has a genetic defect that’s most common in birds. It’s remarkable but not groundbreaking.

A Find Of The Century

Yves’s yellow penguin is a stunning discovery. The yellow color is due to leucism, which is where the cells can’t produce melanin. While it’s beautiful and rare, it’s not groundbreaking. However, some experts may disagree.

Source: Facebook/Yves Adams – Nature Photographer

Kevin McGrew pointed out that the penguin does lack pigments. However, further research is needed. Why? He said: “We’d need feather samples for biochemical testing if we aimed to document unequivocally.” Nevertheless, it’s a discovery that’s going into the history books.

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Mary Scrantin

Written by Mary Scrantin

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