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Emperor Penguins of Antarctica are Going to Extinct

Utkarsh Classes Last Updated 05-09-2023
Emperor Penguins of Antarctica are Going to Extinct Environment 3 min read

According to study due to the dramatic loss of sea ice, several colonies of Emperor Penguins in Antarctica face "quasi-extinction" in the decades to come.

The study found that emperor penguin colonies saw unprecedented and "catastrophic" breeding failure in a part of Antarctica where there was total sea ice loss in 2022. The discovery supports predictions that over 90% of emperor penguin colonies will be "quasi-extinct" by the end of the century, based on current global warming trends.

What does quasi-extinction mean?

  • According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, quasi-extinction means that a "population essentially is still in existence, but reproductively speaking, there’s no way in the world it can increase.”
  • Thus, for emperor penguins, this means that even if individuals are alive, the population is sufficiently low that it can’t recover and will ultimately become extinct.
  • Loss of sea ice imperils penguin chicks
  • The study found that last year, no chicks survived from four of the five known emperor penguin colonies in the central and eastern Bellingshausen Sea, which is west of the Antarctic Peninsula where there was a 100% loss of sea ice in November 2022.

About Emperor Penguins 

  • Emperors are the largest of all penguins—an average bird stands some 45 inches tall. These flightless animals live on the Antarctic ice and in the frigid surrounding waters.
  • Emperor penguins hatch their eggs and raise their chicks on sea ice. If the sea ice breaks up under them, the young chicks will drown or freeze to death.
  • Penguins employ physiological adaptations and cooperative behaviors in order to deal with an incredibly harsh environment, where wind chills can reach -76°F.
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