Very high resolution satellite images were used to conduct a survey of close to 600,000 emperor penguins
in Antarctica, the only place they live. This research project was the first extensive space survey of a wild species. The main point of conducting the population count was establishing an accurate baseline so the impacts of climate change can be measured.
In the last fifty years, the Antarctic peninsula has warmed 4.5 degrees Fahrenheit. Because of the temperature increase, huge ice shelves have collapsed so the penguins have less habitat.
“While current research leads us to expect important declines in the number of emperor penguins over the next century, the effects of warming around Antarctica are regional and uneven. In the future we anticipate that the more southerly colonies should remain, making these important sites for further research and protection,” said one of the researchers. (Source: Business Week)
Related conservation research conducted in the Antarctic found even small changes in water temperatures can threaten local fish populations. Some people might not particularly care about the Antarctic fish, but
they are a significant food source for penguins and seals. Other penguin species such as Adelies, Chinstraps, Gentoos, Kings and Macaronis, also live in the Antarctic.
One of the main contributors to climate change from humans is livestock agriculture. About 51 percent of climate change gases are created by it. So reducing one’s meat consumption is a good way to shrink climate change emissions. The lesson that everything is connected in Nature, seems to be a challenging one for the human species to learn.
Image Credit: Giuseppe Zibordi, Public Domain