Video shows baby emperor penguins cliff diving on camera for 1st time into Antarctic Ocean

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Nat Geo Explorer Bertie Gregory has spent the last decade traveling to the far off corners of the Earth to capture creatures in the wild. This time, he camped on the Antarctic Peninsula and captured never-before-seen behavior while tracking a flock of baby penguins.

“This colony was about 10,000 strong, so a lot of noise, a lot of fun smells, and a lot of fun characters,” he said. “We spent two months camping alongside an emperor penguin colony.”

Emperor penguin chicks jump off the ice shelf edge for their first swim at Atka Bay in Antarctica. Learn about the historic penguin leap at NatGeo.com.

Emperor penguin chicks jump off the ice shelf edge for their first swim at Atka Bay on the Ekström Ice Shelf in Antarctica. Learn about the historic penguin leap at NatGeo.com.

National Geographic/Bertie Gregory

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

And that’s just what happened.

“It’s called fledging, when they take their first swim,” he said. “Normally they jump off of sea ice, which is one or two feet high. We were noticing that these trains of chicks were going past to a different place. 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. One by one they started to jump off this 50-foot ice cliff to take their first swim in the Southern Ocean.”

Emperor penguin chicks jump off the ice shelf edge for their first swim at Atka Bay on the Ekström Ice Shelf in Antarctica. Learn about the historic penguin leap at NatGeo.com.

Emperor penguin chicks jump off the ice shelf edge for their first swim at Atka Bay on the Ekström Ice Shelf in Antarctica. Learn about the historic penguin leap at NatGeo.com.

National Geographic/Bertie Gregory

For the first time ever, this rare cliff diving behavior was captured on video.

“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. 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.”

Emperor penguin chicks jump off the ice shelf edge for their first swim at Atka Bay in Antarctica. Learn about the historic penguin leap at NatGeo.com.

Emperor penguin chicks jump off the ice shelf edge for their first swim at Atka Bay on the Ekström Ice Shelf in Antarctica. Learn about the historic penguin leap at NatGeo.com.

National Geographic/Bertie Gregory

That footage will be featured in a new documentary coming out next year.

But for now, for more amazing Earth Month content, check out the ourHOME collection on Disney+. Learn more about the historic penguin leap at NatGeo.com.

Disney is the parent company of Nat Geo, Disney+ and this station.

Copyright © 2024 ABC News Internet Ventures.

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