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Every So Often, For No Reason At All, Penguins Will Just Wander Off And Die

NOVEMBER 6, 2015  —  By Mike Cahill  
Mike Cahill

Mike Cahill

Mike is ViralNova's resident Editor of the Weird. If it makes you say "OMG! That's terrible!!!" then Mike probably wrote it. Despite the subject of his articles Mike is surprisingly well adjusted. When he's not writing, he's making music, performing, and producing podcasts.

Penguins are among nature's most adorable creations. Anyone who's ever seen penguins up close knows how happy and carefree they seem to be. However, as is the case with most things, penguins secretly harbor a dark side that's honestly pretty shocking.

Researchers who have visited Antarctica report that penguin depression (which can lead to suicide) is actually pretty common.

No one is quite sure why, but sometimes, penguins break off from their family units and wander into the Antarctic mountains.

They do so with the intention of never coming back.

Naturally, this behavior shocked researchers when they first witnessed it. Sadly, there's nothing anyone can do when a penguin decides to head into the mountains to die.

Most research groups have a firm no-interference policy when it comes to Antarctic wildlife.

However, even if they did stop a suicidal penguin and bring it back to the colony, the penguin would just turn around and carry on with its suicide mission.

In his excellent Antarctic documentary Encounters at the End of the World, German filmmaker Werner Herzog explores this fascinating and morbid phenomenon.

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(via ZME Science)

Those poor penguins. I understand that suicide, sad as it may be, is a part of life for humans and other creatures struggling with depression. Still, watching something like a penguin deliberately go off to die is really upsetting.