Climate change has placed emperor penguins living in Antarctica in severe danger of extinction. A researcher at the Argentine Antarctic Institute (IAA) believes they might disappear within 30 to 40 years because they rely on the ice to complete their life cycles.
Unlike the Adelia penguins, also endemic to Antarctica, who build nests, the emperor penguins reproduce on marine ice.
“When the ice platform loses stability, the little penguins - the ones that are growing, the chicks of that season - might not have their feathers, they might not be ready to go to the sea,” Marcela Libertelli, biologist and head of Top Predators Department at IAA, told the Reuters agency.
“The ground they rest on, where the colony is developing, breaks and if the water reaches them, they are not ready to swim, they do not have their definitive grown-up waterproof feathers, and they die because of the cold and drown,” she added.