A recent surge in tourism to Antarctica could prove deadly for native inhabitants, namely the penguin. Just 200 years ago Antarctica was so barren and remote that it received very few visitors. Globalization and transportation in the modern world has made this remote outpost more accessible than ever.
The main culprit may be tourist’s boots. One group of researchers identified a number of fecal pathogens found when testing the boots of tourists. These pathogens could be easily transferred when the tourists slosh through the snow.
Some scientists aren’t buying the theory though. Tourism companies are incredibly strict regarding what tourists are allowed to bring with them on their trips.
Dr. Daniel Amen says humans aren’t the only tourists visiting Antarctica. Migratory animals may also be to blame. The warming climate is providing a more attractive location for migration than ever before.
No matter who is to blame, the results are the same. Penguins are becoming sick much more than ever before.