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Why This Matters: Biodiversity is declining worldwide, wreaking havoc on ecosystems. The Earth’s poles are warming at two to three times the rate of the rest of the world, leaving ice-reliant species adrift and forcing many to migrate toward the equator for survival.
“There is a sea ice ‘Goldilocks’ zone,” said Stephanie Jenouvrier, a seabird ecologist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and a lead author of the study. “If there is too little sea ice, chicks can drown when sea ice breaks up early; if there is too much sea ice, foraging trips become too long and more arduous, and the chicks may starve.”
Listing the species as threatened would provide new protections, including a ban on importing the birds for commercial purposes, and U.S. fisheries operating in Antarctica will be required to evaluate the potential impact on the species. “Climate change, a priority challenge for this Administration, impacts a variety of species throughout the world,” said Martha Williams, the principal deputy director of the wildlife service. “The decisions made by policymakers today and during the next few decades will determine the fate of the Emperor penguin.”
Jenouvrier says that penguins have become “modern-day canaries” for climate change and should serve as a warning to humans that the impact of fossil fuel use and pollution can travel far beyond the borders of human society. “Although they are found in Antarctica, far from human civilization, they live in a delicate balance with their environment, which today is rapidly changing.”
By Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer Almost 1,000 of Florida’s manatees have died as of Oct.1 this year, setting a tragic record for the most deaths in a year, with two months left to go. Deaths were largely caused by starvation — the predator-less sea cows typically spend hours a day eating seagrass, but declining […]
Do you have a good eye? Are you surprisingly good at Where’s Waldo and like Walruses? If so, we have great opportunity for you! The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is seeking volunteers to help count Atlantic walruses…from space. Sea ice is retreating fast as global temperatures rise, forcing walruses to crowd on smaller floes […]
By Natasha Lasky, ODP Staff Writer At a UN conference in Kunming, China, President Xi Jinping set aside $230 million to form a fund that preserves biodiversity in developing countries. This announcement was made at the UN Convention on Biological Diversity talks (COP15) which are dedicated to preserving delicate ecosystems and preventing plants and animals […]
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