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Coming Soon: A World without Penguins

Coming Soon: A World without Penguins
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The threat of extinction hangs over penguins. Care2 bloggers have written about the precipitous drop among the Adélie and African penguins. While the film “March of the Penguins” was popular, a lot of attention focused on the 13 species of penguins (out of 18) that are threatened or endangered.

In the last week researchers have raised the specter of global warming as the culprit responsible for the precipitous decline of two species of Antarctic penguins: the Emperor and the Chinstrap.

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) biologist Stephanie Jenouvrier has been studying the Emperor penguin and reports the Dion Islets colony dropped from 150 breeding pairs in 1948 to none in 2009. She and her colleagues warn that if global temperatures continue to rise, the Terre Adélie penguins may also disappear.

The species relies on sea ice for breeding and raising their chicks. Disappearing ice increases the already high mortality among Emperor chicks. It also robs them of their food source, in a chain of losses that starts with plankton that grows beneath the ice and moves through the krill, squid and fish that feed on the plankton.

Jenouvrier says: “Our best projections show roughly 500 to 600 breeding pairs remaining by the year 2100. Today, the population size is around 3000 breeding pairs.”

Next page: Chinstraps Disappearing; Humans to Blame

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Photo credits: Thinkstock

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154 comments

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1:12PM PDT on Sep 25, 2012

:(

7:42AM PDT on Aug 19, 2012

very sad

7:54AM PDT on Aug 16, 2012

How sad humanity is! How sad it is that humans are pushing & pushing extinction of more than one species because of greed & hate.

1:24AM PDT on Aug 16, 2012

I don't think I want to live in a world without penguins. And can our world survive the loss? Each animal has a purpose and if the animal is lost then it causes problems. If God indeed made us stewards of this earth what do you think god thinks of us now? I'd be really worried if I was in a religion that believed this.

4:15PM PDT on Jul 24, 2012

Humans...

6:29AM PDT on Jul 3, 2012

It would be tragic for any species of penguin to become extinct.

3:30PM PDT on Jul 1, 2012

Change happens. We can all do what we can to keep Earth in good shape, but it is arrogant to think we can change Earths growth or that it can't happen in our life time. There are new under water explosions of lava being found all the time, and volcano's going off heating the air, earthquakes wiping the over populated humans out, whole towns being eliminated with lightning fires, hurricanes and tornadoes, You want to help make a real difference? Stop flying in the enormously polluting planes. Bring commerce back to the towns and cities as you get form this point to that. Work closer to home, live closer to family. It takes a village.

12:39PM PDT on Jul 1, 2012

You could see the humor here if you had attended a Catholic high school with Dominican nuns !

3:36AM PDT on Jun 30, 2012

The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.

"Die Größe eines Volkes und seine moralischen Fortschritte können daran gemessen werden, wie es seine Tiere behandelt."

Those who are cruel to animals cannot be righteous human beings.

Wer gegen Tiere grausam ist, kann kein guter Mensch sein.

1:18AM PDT on Jun 28, 2012

It will be over by 2100, we will have destroyed the land, air and water. There will be no food, no plants because there will be no bees to pollenate. We already see the effects now. No decent soil left, animals will die off. We will have caused the sea levels to rise and islands will disappear. Our coastal regions will be eroded. So we are now experiencing hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes, tsunami's, regional flooding (100 yr floods, in ten years) loss of fresh water sources, global disaster. How much longer until we take this seriously?

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