New York: Antarctica’s emperor penguin is at risk of extinction due to rising global temperatures and sea ice loss, the U.S. government said Tuesday (October 25) as it finalized protections for the animal under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said emperor penguins should be protected under the law since the birds build colonies and raise their young on the Antarctic ice threatened by climate change. The wildlife agency said a thorough review of evidence, including satellite data from 40 years showed the penguins aren’t currently in danger of extinction, but rising temperatures signal that is likely. The agency’s review followed a 2011 petition by the environmental group Center for Biological Diversity to list the bird under the Endangered Species Act.
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Climate change has caused colonies to experience breeding failures, according to the government. The Halley Bay colony in the Weddell Sea, the second-largest emperor penguin colony in the world, experienced several years of poor sea ice conditions, leading to the drowning of all newborn chicks beginning in 2016, the government said.
The endangered status will promote international cooperation for conservation strategies, increase funding for conservation programs and require federal agencies in the United States to act to reduce threats.
Tuesday’s designation was described as a warning that emperor penguins need “urgent climate action” in order to survive by Shaye Wolf, the climate science director at the Center for Biological Diversity.
“The penguin’s very existence depends on whether our government takes strong action now to cut climate-heating fossil fuels and prevent irreversible damage to life on Earth,” Wolf said.
The 1973 Endangered Species Act is credited with bringing several animals back from the brink of extinction, including grizzly bears, bald eagles, gray whales and others. The law has frustrated some drilling and mining industries among others, which can be stopped from developing areas deemed necessary for species survival.
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(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diarrhoea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.