Emperor penguin is at risk of extinction in the next 30-40 years due to climate change.
The emperor penguin is one of the best-known species in Antarctica and have been featured in multiple Disney movies. Unfortunately, the species is currently endangered due to its dependence on the frozen sea. It is only under this condition that it can complete its reproductive cycle.
Emperor penguin nestlings only hatch in the austral winter. As a result, they need solid sea ice in the period between April and December. If the sea is slow to freeze or the ice melts prematurely, then the chicks are unable to survive because they are not ready to swim and have not developed waterproof plumage. This means that if water reaches them, they will die by drowning or freezing to death.
Three years ago, the international scientific community became concerned by an incident that took place in Halley Bay colony in the Weddell Sea, where all the emperor penguin chicks died because the sea was not sufficiently frozen.
Gloomy forecasts for the emperor penguin
Experts have gloomy forecasts for the future of the emperor penguin colonies. Several specialists believe that the colonies located between latitudes of 60 and 70 degrees south will disappear within the next three decades. The extinction of this species will have highly negative repercussions for the region’s ecosystem. Experts predict that their disappearance will disrupt food chains, which will be disastrous. Climate change is already affecting Antarctica. A rise in the number of tourist vessels on the continent, combined with indiscriminate fishing, has led to the slow disappearance of krill, which is an important element in the food chain of the emperor penguin. The decrease in the quantity of this indispensable food reduces the survival options of this species.