Monday, February 11, 2008

King penguins could be wiped out by climate change

One of the emblems of the Antarctic, the king penguin, could be driven to extinction by climate change, a French study warns.

In a long-term investigation on the penguins' main breeding grounds, investigators found that a tiny warming of the Southern Ocean by the El Nino effect caused a massive fall in the birds' ability to survive.

If predictions by UN scientists of ever-higher temperatures in coming decades prove true, the species faces a major risk of being wiped out, they say.

The species is unusual in that it takes a whole year for all the birds to complete their breeding cycle -- the ritual of courtship, egg laying, incubating and chick rearing.

This extreme length, spanning the Antarctic winter and summer, means the birds are vulnerable to downturns in seasonal food resources for incubating their eggs and nurturing their chicks.

Their main diet, small fish and squid, depends on krill. These minute crustaceans are in turn extremely sensitive to temperature rise.

Source: The Times of India

1 comment:

Wildbird said...

CLIMATE CHANGE is still the biggist fruad ever