Emperor Penguins should be Added to Endangered Species list

Emperor Penguins should be Added to Endangered Species list

A new study predicts two out of every three penguin colonies on Antarctica could be reduced by half by 2100. The ice sheets on which they live and breed are melting and all this is happening owing to climate change.

Lead author Stephanie Janouvrier, a biologist with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, assessed data at 45 sites in Antarctica. After assessing the colonies with other team-mates, Janouvrier said penguins' future is in danger.

The phenomenon, sea ice expansion and shrinkage, are taking place on different parts of the continent. Both trends are considered to be troublesome for the penguins. Penguins need ice to breed and to find secure locations for raising their young ones. But they also need open ocean water to hunt fish for food.

Penguins require ice as well as open water. If there would be too much presence of ice then they would have to travel farther to reach out for open ocean and fish for food. Contrary to it, presence of less ice means reduced habitat for krill, an important food source for the penguins.

During the research period, researchers noted penguins are already travelling farther distances. Also, penguins are moving to new spots rather than returning to the same colonies as they used to do for decades prior.

As per researchers, it has happened due to increasing temperature and shrinking of ice. Therefore, researchers have suggested adding emperor penguins to the Endangered Species list. By taking this step, human fishing practices would improve in the region and strict regulations will be implanted with regard to carbon dioxide emissions.

"When a species is at risk due to one factor - in this case, climate change - it can be helped, sometimes greatly, by amelioration of other factors", said co-author Hal Caswell.

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