Apr 2, 2009
More than 1,000 penguins were found dead on the shores of southern Chile last weekend, reports Australia's Brisbane Times (and noted by ProMED-mail). The reason for the large die-off remains a mystery. The birds, which were both Magellanic (Spheniscus magellanicus) and Humboldt (Spheniscus humboldti) penguins according to reports, are native to the waters around southern Chile and Argentina and migrate north for the Southern Hemisphere's winter.
"With that number," says P. Dee Boersma, a professor of biology at the University of Washington in Seattle, "it seems like a lot to be caught in a net." Although fishing nets are an occasional killer, it's more common that just a few will be caught at a time, she says. And after seeing television coverage of the birds while in Argentina, she notes that, "They didn't look oiled," (coated from an oil spill, which can break down the coating on their feathers, exposing them to chilly waters). They also don't appear to have been poisoned, Chilean Navy Lt. Rodrigo Zambrano told The Patagonia Times.
Jan 26, 2009
The number of emperor penguins, the elegant stars of the hit film "March of the Penguins," will shrink considerably by the end of this century if levels of Antarctic sea ice continue to fluctuate as frequently as climate experts predict, new research suggests.
There's a 40 to 80 percent chance that the population will become "quasi-extinct," or decline by 95 percent, by the year 2100, according to mathematical modeling published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The results are based on predicted rises and falls in Antarctic sea ice by the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the population of emperor penguins in Terre Adelie, which—if you imagine Antarctica as a clock—is located at about 5 o'clock. While there isn’t agreement on how much sea ice levels will vacillate, most climate scientists agree that declines will become more frequent.
Dec 19, 2008 | 7
Seven species of penguins will now join polar bears on the list of species endangered by climate change and other environmental threats, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) said this week. Worst off: the African penguin, which is disappearing due to overfishing and oil pollution.
The other threatened penguins: yellow-eyed, white-flippered, Fiordland crested, erect-crested (all from New Zealand) and the Humbolt penguin of South America. Still safe, at least according to the FWS, are the southern and northern rockhopper as well as the lord of all penguins—the emperor, which the agency decided was safe because it lacked enough info on how Antarctica will change over the coming century.
Sep 9, 2008
Penguins may be waddling closer to protected status under the Endangered Species Act, now that a judge has told federal regulators to determine whether the aquatic birds are in danger of extinction.
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service must say by Dec. 19 whether 10 species of penguin should be listed under the act, U.S. District Court Judge Ricardo Urbina ruled yesterday in federal court in Washington, D.C. The settlement could affect the emperor, southern rockhopper, northern rockhopper, Fiordland crested, erect-crested, macaroni, white-flippered, yellow-eyed, African, and Humboldt penguins.
“Right now penguins are marching towards extinction due to the impacts of global warming,” Shaye Wolf, a seabird biologist with the Center for Biological Diversity, said in a press release. “Protecting penguins under the Endangered Species Act is an essential step toward saving them.”
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