Home Ice bergs Iconic emperor penguins at risk of extinction by 2050, Australian scientist says

Iconic emperor penguins at risk of extinction by 2050, Australian scientist says


The world’s largest penguin species is at risk of extinction within 30 years, Australian researchers have warned.

Barbara Wienecke, senior researcher at the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD), revealed that modeling suggests the iconic emperor penguin could be virtually extinct by 2050.

Endemic to Antarctica, the emperor penguin is the largest of the 18 penguin species, reaching 1.3 meters in height. Raising their young on pack ice, the ice that is blocked between islands or icebergs, has made emperor penguins particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, with colonies already disappearing.

“At the current rate, extinction is pretty much a given,” she told News Corp Australia on Saturday.

Even under the best possible scenario of a 1.5 degree rise in temperature, the modeling scenarios are that most colonies will be nearly extinct by 2050, she said.

“That means these colonies have shrunk so much, they’ve lost so much of their population, that they’re not able to recover.”

The emperor penguin is currently listed as “near threatened” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), but Wienecke said many experts have called for a review in 2023 to “upgrade” it to an “endangered species”. Endangered”.

She said mitigating the effects of climate change was the only way to save the species, but changing its protected status would also raise awareness of the penguins’ plight.

An endangered list could also pave the way for other measures such as protecting the emperor’s food source, including krill, finfish and squid, from overfishing.