The whole population of Antarctica’s famous Emperor penguins is coming across many challenges while adapting to climate change. These tallest penguin species are at the risk of extinction due to disappearing sea ice.
According to the recent study, if the sea ice continues to melt at this pace then these Emperor penguin population could become extinct by 2100. The study conducted by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution suggest that the Emperor penguins have survived so far due to the changes taking place in their feeding and breeding grounds. However, such migrations can put these species at risk and they will not be able to survive longer. The study researchers also claim that dispersal of these penguin population can allow their sustenance only for the limited time span.
The researchers alert that if this sea ice melt continues then the number of Emperor penguins decrease upto 99%. They also said that these penguin species will be listed under endangered species act similar to polar bears. WHOI biologist and the lead author of study Stephanie Jenouvrier says that sea ice cover is an integral part of Emperor penguins.
According to NASA, the Earth’s temperature has increased by 1.4 Fahrenheit degrees since 1800 and sea levels have risen by 178 millimeters since last 100 years. Hence due to drastic climate changes the Emperor penguins should be listed under Endangered Species Act. The sea ice cover is the breeding ground for these species and lack of it force them to migrate to other regions in search of prey. The results of the study have been published in the journal Biological Conservation on June 6.
The study’s lead author has tied up with mathematicians to design a “sophisticated demographic model of penguin colonies.” This demographic model analyses the link between Emperor penguins and their migration from one place to another where there are suitable sea conditions. The researchers considered various factors like migration rate of these species, their migration behavior and dispersal distance to come up with a conclusion. Then the analysis of sea ice cover during the forecast period was also studied.