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Baby penguins dive off 50-foot cliff in rare footage from National Geographic

via National Geographic
This article was originally published at StateOfUnion.org. Publications approved for syndication have permission to republish this article, such as Microsoft News, Yahoo News, Newsbreak, UltimateNewswire and others. To learn more about syndication opportunities, visit About Us.

Footage from National Geographic shows baby emperor penguin chicks bravely diving from a 50-foot cliff into the water below for the first time.

The video, captured using a drone at Atka Bay in Antarctica, shows nearly 700 chicks gathered at the edge of an icy cliff before one makes the plunge, prompting the others to follow.

It was filmed by cinematographer Bertie Gregory over two months alongside the colony of about 10,000 penguins.

This rare event of the chicks’ first swim had never been documented for television before.

“The thing that gets my blood racing the most is the idea that if we just keep going round the next corner or the next corner, we might get to see something that no one has ever seen before,” Gregory said.

“Normally they jump off sea ice, which is 1 or 2 feet high. We were noticing that these trains of chicks were going past to a different place,” Gregory said.

Gregory explained that the chicks’ normal path to the ocean was blocked, forcing them to jump from the high cliff ledge rather than the usual 1-2 foot sea ice.

Despite the dangerous fall onto chunks of floating ice below, the chicks amazingly popped up swimming, demonstrating their first successful dive marks a critical step in their development.

“So I launched the drone, flew it over there to see what was going on, and realized they were stacking up on the edge of a huge 50-foot ice cliff,” he added.

“One by one they started to jump off this 50-foot ice cliff to take their first swim in the Southern Ocean,” Gregory said.

“This is their first swim ever, the first swim of their lives.”

“They were falling and there were big chunks of ice floating in the water beneath them, so it’s like falling onto a chunk of concrete,” Gregory said.

“But, to my amazement, they were not just surviving, but popping up and going, ‘I can swim!’ This is their first swim ever, the first swim of their lives.”

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