It is as real as it gets and climate change is no joke. In yet another report, emperor penguins in Antarctica, which have been classified as a threatened species, are being affected by climate change. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service classified these adorably adorable flightless birds to be vulnerable species last week under the Endangered Species Act.
The listing’s primary goal is to prevent the extinction of emperor penguins. The organization claims that the “main threat” to emperor penguins is the effects of climate change on their habitat of sea ice.
It should be noted that Antarctica is quickly becoming another exotic travel destination, with luxury cruises taking visitors right to its land. An ecologically fragile ecosystem may be bearing the brunt of eager tourists, and it is critical that these tours adhere to sustainable, safe practices. Of course, these pristine lands should be left alone.
“This listing reflects the growing extinction crisis and highlights the importance of the ESA and efforts to conserve species before population declines become irreversible,” said service director Martha Williams in a statement released by the agency.
She went on to say that climate change is having a huge impact on species all over the world, and that the emperor penguin’s listing is more of a wake-up call to take action. The number of emperor penguins is currently stable, with approximately 61 breeding colonies and an estimated 625,000 to 650,000 emperor penguins worldwide.
However, experts predict that climate change will reduce the population size from 26% to 47% by 2050, threatening emperor penguins in the Indian Ocean, Western Pacific Ocean, Bellingshausen Sea, and Amundsen Sea. Because of melting sea ice, penguin colonies in all of these regions are expected to decline by more than 90%.
The agency declared 23 species extinct in 2021. The beautiful Ivory-billed woodpecker (America’s largest woodpecker) was also on the list.