Some Like It Cold

Emperor penguins living near the South Pole don't appear to be fans of global warming.

12-01-2001 // NWF Staff

Our tuxedoed friends living near the South Pole don't appear to be fans of global warming. The number of emperor penguins living in a colony near an Antarctic research station has dropped 50 percent in the past five decades, French scientists report. The onset of the population decline coincides closely with a regional warming trend and a reduction in sea ice that started in the 1970s. The scientists say that increasing temperatures may have reduced the number of krill (a shrimplike, cold-water crustacean), making it difficult for the seabirds to get enough food to eat. Although the study isn't conclusive, biologist Christophe Barbraud says, "our results suggest that emperor penguins may be highly sensitive to climate change."

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