Friday, December 1, 2006

Center for Biological Diversity wants 12 penguin species added to endangered list

Twelve of the world's 19 species of penguins may be marching toward extinction if the U.S. government doesn't put them under the wing of the Endangered Species Act, argues the petition prepared by the nonprofit Center for Biological Diversity, a national group with a branch in San Francisco.

"The same thing could happen to the emperor and Adelie penguins as is happening to the polar bear in the Arctic," Bay Area marine biologist David Ainley said Thursday, speaking from Ross Island off Antarctica about two species that live on sea ice. "They don't exist if there is no sea ice.''

The government must limit industrial fishing in the Antarctic Ocean to preserve the penguins' food supply as well as control emissions of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere that lead to warming of oceans, which melts their sea ice home, the petition says.

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