Tags: antarctica | king | penguins | threatened

Antarctica King Penguins Threatened by Warmer Habitat

Image: Antarctica King Penguins Threatened by Warmer Habitat

(Ondrej Prosicky/Dreamstime.com)

By    |   Tuesday, 27 February 2018 09:08 AM

Near Antarctica, king penguins could face threats as climate change pushes their food source away from places where they breed, a new study suggests.

A scientific model shows the penguins food sources are becoming out of reach for them to swim and feed their young, according to the study, published Monday in the journal Nature Climate Change.

"This is really surprising to us, to find such a massive change is going to happen in such a short time frame," Emiliano Trucchi, a researcher in evolutionary genetics from the University of Ferrara, said, according to National Public Radio.

Trucchi told NPR that king penguins hunt small fish and other ocean creatures – up to 80 percent from the Antarctic Polar Front – to bring back to their young. Researchers said that food source, though, is moving closer to the South Pole and away from the king penguins' natural habitat.

King penguins can only shift breeding grounds in a stepping-stone manner, hopping between available islands, according to the Press Association.

"The main issue is that there is only a handful of islands in the Southern Ocean and not all of them are suitable to sustain large breeding colonies." lead researcher Robin Cristofari, from the Hubert Curien Multidisciplinary Institute in Strasbourg, France, said, per the Press Association.

The study suggest, according to the Press Association, that up to 70 percent of the king penguins, roughly 1.1 million breeding pairs, may die or be forced to find new habitats before the end if the century.

The news agency wrote that just under 50 percent of the king penguin population breeds on the Crozet and Prince Edward islands in the southern Indian Ocean, were its habitat is expected to be lost completely.

The study suggested in its conclusion that "proactive" steps should be taken to address the issue with king penguins.

"As the paradigmatic example of the king penguin clearly shows, integrating the total available evidence for a species offers unexpected insights into future scenarios in complex ecosystems identifying vulnerable areas and potential refugia, and allowing for efficient and proactive conservation effort."

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King penguins near Antarctica are threatened by warmer temperatures that could push their food source farther from their breeding grounds, according to a new study.
antarctica, king, penguins, threatened
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2018-08-27
Tuesday, 27 February 2018 09:08 AM
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