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More than half of the world’s emperor penguins will die in 80 years

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More than half of the world’s emperor penguins will die in 80 years.

Scientists warn that if the Antarctic ice melt continues at its current pace, the species will suffer devastating hard-to-recover populations.

More than half of the world’s emperor penguins will die in the next 80 years from melting ice, scientists warn.

Thanks to aerial and satellite research, Emperor Penguins are probably the only species in which scientists can be sure of their numbers – about 600,000.

But on Tuesday, the British Antarctic Research Department warned that more than half of the birds – at least 300,000 – would die under current rates of rising global temperatures.

This is because the sea ice on which they need to reproduce is at risk of melting due to rising temperatures.

In an article published in the journal Biological Conservation, an international team of researchers reviewed more than 150 studies on the species.

Scientists say current research suggests that “emperor penguin populations will decline by more than 50% over the current century.”

Emperor penguins are unique species among birds because they breed on Antarctic sea ice seasonally.

They need sea ice during the time they hatch their eggs and while raising their young.

They also need stable sea ice after they have reproduced during their annual migratory period, when they cannot enter the water because their feathers are no longer waterproof.

Emperor penguins rely on stable ice throughout their breeding period.

Consequently, late sea ice formation, early disruption or even complete failure of rapid ice formation greatly reduce the chances of successful breeding and rearing and persistence of the species anywhere.

The study’s lead author, Dr. Philip Trathan, head of Conservation Biology at the British Department of Antarctic Research (BAS) told the Daily Mail:

“The current rate of warming in certain parts of Antarctica is higher than anything in the recent glacial record.”

“Although Emperor Penguins have experienced periods of warming and cooling throughout their evolutionary history, current warming rates are unprecedented,” he warned.

“We currently have no idea how emperor penguins will adjust to the loss of their primary breeding habitat – sea ice. They are not agile and being able to climb ashore through steep shorelines will be difficult. ”

“For reproduction, they depend on sea ice and in a warming world there is a high probability that it will decrease. Without it, they will have little or no breeding habitat. ”

Peter Fretwell, BAS’s remote sensing expert and co-author of the article, told the Daily Mail: “Some emperor penguin colonies may not survive in the coming decades, so we should work to give the species as much protection as possible in order to give them the best chance. ”

Rod Downie, WWF’s polar chief consultant, who funded the study, told the Daily Mail: “Emperor penguins are perfectly adapted to survive on the planet’s most remote and extreme frontier. But neither can they hide from the global climate crisis because they lose sea ice right under their feet. ”

“We need to take urgent measures to protect these incredible species by creating vast marine protected areas and quick and deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.”

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