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Emperor penguins waddling to extinction: Climate study

Published on Jun 30, 2014 6:38 AM
 
An Emperor penguin in New Zealand, some 3,000 kilometres from his Antarctic home on June 20, 2011. Global warming will send Antarctica’s emperor penguins into decline by 2100, scientists projected on Sunday, and called for the emblematic birds to be listed as endangered and their habitat better protected. -- PHOTO: AFP

PARIS (AFP) - Global warming will send Antarctica’s emperor penguins into decline by 2100, scientists projected on Sunday, and called for the emblematic birds to be listed as endangered and their habitat better protected.

The world’s largest penguin species came to global fame with a 2005 documentary, March Of The Penguins, portraying their annual trek across the icy wastes, and the 2006 cartoon movie Happy Feet.

The new study sheds light on the birds’ reliance on sea ice for breeding and raising their young. The ice also protects their prey – fish and krill – by maintaining the food chain.

Declining sea ice caused by climate change would place all 45 known emperor penguin colonies into decline by 2100, according to the population simulation.

 
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