Penguin population has dropped off over the last decades.
(Mirror Daily, United States) – Scientists have recently found some causes related to the population decline of the Adélie penguin species that nests in West Antarctic Peninsula.
A team of researchers from the University of Delaware came to the conclusion that even if the penguin habitat area has increased, their numbers have dropped down, and the only link is climate change.
The experts calculated that their population might further decline by 30 percent by 2060 and with 60 percent by 2100.
These statistics prove that their situation is critical, but scientists still have time to change this outcome. According to Ph. D. Megan Cimino, lead author from the University of Delaware, warming might be the leading cause of the population drop-off of Adélie penguins because many parts of Antarctica are getting warmer due to climate change.
This process is less likely to stop, and it will certainly take its toll on other species, besides the Adélie penguins. Cimino, together with one of her colleagues, principal investigator Matthew Oliver, established that over the last 45 years, penguin colonies have dropped down by more than 80 percent.
During this period, the team also observed that Antarctic waters have become warmer at the surface. It is also worth mentioning that Cimino joined efforts with many scientists in order to find out the leading cause of penguin population decline.
Vincent S. Saba, a fishery biologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service, together with Heather J. Lynch, assistant professor at Stony Brook University; Professor Charles Robertson from the Marine Science and Policy Department of College Earth, Ocean, and Environment, established that there might be several other causes that affect the Antarctic ecosystem.
Glaciers are constantly affected by warming. This process provides penguins with a larger nesting area, and it should encourage their breeding. However, their numbers have critically dropped off. Other experts believe that human ignorance, water, and air pollution has brought penguins and many other species into this critical situation.
Big seafood companies which are responsible for excessive fishing might also lead to severe consequences for these birds as they have fewer sources of food. Also, there is always the possibility that the penguin population might have declined because many waters were polluted.
Plus, some specimens might have been caught in fishing lines and nets as well. Therefore, active measures need to be taken in order to help and preserve the penguin population.