World News Day: Penguins among species at risk if Earth heats up by more than 1.5 deg C

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LONDON - Penguins will lose their Antarctic ice floes, corals will bleach, puffins around the United Kingdom's coast will be unable to feed their young, and the black-headed squirrel monkey of the Amazon could be wiped out if the world fails to limit global heating to 1.5 deg C above pre-industrial levels, reports the Guardian.

Many other species will face increasing problems finding food or surviving, it says, quoting a report by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) on the effects of a climate breakdown.

In the UK, mountain hares, bumblebees and bluebells are already feeling the heat while elsewhere, wildlife, including leatherback turtles, monkeys in the Amazon, corals and hippos are all under threat, the report says.

Emperor penguin colonies in Antarctica face a bleak future in the face of ice loss without action to curb emissions, the report notes.

These creatures are well adapted to thrive in the freezing conditions of the Antarctic but climate change, due to changes in the sea, is one of the biggest threats they face.

Populations have declined by up to 50 per cent in some places, and one colony off the Antarctic Peninsula has disappeared completely, the WWF says on its website.

These birds are the biggest of the 18 species of penguins found today, and one of the largest of all birds.

Puffins in the UK are also facing increasing threats from warming seas, notes the Guardian. Sand eels form a large part of the seabird's diet, and the sand eels depend on crustaceans called copepods.

Now, however, warming seas mean copepods are blooming before the sand eels hatch. As the sand eels miss out on their meals, there are fewer for puffins to catch, and entire colonies can fail as a result.

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