Climate change is no joke and is as real as it gets. In yet another news, the impact of climate change is seen on Antarctica’s emperor penguins, which have officially been declared a threatened species. Last week, the Endangered Species Act by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service declared these super cute flightless birds as threatened species.
The main aim of the listing is to save the emperor penguins from extinction. As per the agency, the climate change impact on the sea-ice habitat is the “primary threat” to the emperor penguins.
It has to be noted that Antarctica is fast becoming yet another exotic destination for travellers, with luxury cruises taking travellers right to its land. An ecologically fragile ecosystem might just be bearing the brunt of eager tourists, and it is important to ensure that sustainable, safe practices are followed during these tours. Of course, these pristine lands are best left untouched.
In a statement released by the agency, service director Martha Williams said, “This listing reflects the growing extinction crisis and highlights the importance of the ESA and efforts to conserve species before population declines become irreversible.”
She further said that climate change is having a huge impact on species around the world and that the listing of the emperor penguin is more of an alarm bell to take action. As of now, the number of emperor penguins is stable with about 61 breeding colonies and an estimated 625,000 to 650,000 emperor penguins across the globe.
However, as per experts prediction, the population size could go down from 26% to 47% by the year 2050 because of climate change as it is threatening emperor penguins in the Indian Ocean, Western Pacific Ocean, Bellingshausen Sea and Amundsen Sea. The penguin colonies in all these regions are projected to decline by more than 90% because of melting sea ice.
In 2021, the agency declared 23 species extinct. The list also included the beautiful Ivory-billed woodpecker (America’s largest woodpecker).