Warming, Melting Sea Ice Threaten Antarctic’s Emperor Penguins
The Emperor penguin’s future is looking bleak if global temperatures continue to rise and melt sea ice, scientists have warned. At nearly four feet tall, Antarctica’s largest sea bird became a global icon thanks to films like March of the Penguins and Happy Feet, but if temperatures continue to rise, it faces extinction.
Unlike other sea birds, Emperor penguins breed and raise their young almost exclusively on sea ice – if the ice breaks up and disappears early into the breeding season, massive breeding failure will occur. There is already a huge death rate at the breeding stages because only half of chicks live to the end of the breeding season and then only half the survivors live to see another year.