Studying Emperor penguins has always presented challenges for researchers. They are extremely shy and back away anytime researchers approach.

How did researchers solve this problem?

A group of European scientists along with a UK wildlife filmmaker slapped a cute, furry, fake penguin on a remote-controlled rover.

And, it worked great. Check out the short video below.

Researchers tried five different versions before they nailed it with the one above.

Yvon Le Maho, lead author, said the penguins sang to the rover. It’s believed the adult penguins were attempting to find a mate for their chicks.

“They were very disappointed when there was no answer,” Le Maho said told “Next time we will have a rover playing songs.”

The success of the penguin-rover opens up research possibilities. These include studying the effects of climate change on penguin colonies, recording the vocalization of penguins and conducting environmental surveys near penguin colonies.

Image credit: Yvon Le Maho, Nature Methods

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