Warming Triggers Loss of Emperor Penguin Chicks

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Emperor penguins are seen on sea ice in the Antarctic Ocean in February 2008.

PARIS (AFP-Jiji) — Helpless emperor penguin chicks perished at multiple breeding grounds in West Antarctica late last year, drowning or freezing to death when sea ice eroded by global warming gave way under their tiny feet, scientists said Aug. 24.

Of five sites monitored in the Bellingshausen Sea region, all but one experienced a “catastrophic” 100% loss of chicks, they reported in a peer-reviewed study.

“This is the first major breeding failure of emperor penguins across several colonies due to sea ice loss,” lead author Peter Fretwell, a researcher at the British Antarctic Survey, told AFP.