Market Desk (nature): As Antarctica’s emperor penguins are increasingly threatened by climate crisis, the flightless seabirds will receive new protections under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
With global warming melting the ice the penguins depend on for their survival, the US Fish and Wildlife Service now categorizes the species as threatened. The Tuesday announcement came more than a year after an initial proposal by the service to protect emperor penguins under the ESA.
The greatest threat emperor penguins face is climate change. It will disrupt the ice cover they rely on unless governments adopt policies that reduce the greenhouse gases driving global warming.
The US ESA has been used before to protect other species that are primarily at risk from climate change including the polar bear, ringed seal and several species of coral, which are all listed as threatened.
Emperor penguins don’t live on US territory, so some of the ESA measures meant to protect species habitats and prevent hunting directly don’t apply. Being listed under the Endangered Species Act could still bring benefit.
The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts reports that parts of the Antarctic Peninsula’s ice have melted more than 60% in 30 years. Because of this, emperor penguins are in danger of extinction.