As the global temperature climbs, melting Antarctic ice is threatening penguin populations. According to MSNBC, the loss of ice decreases local krill populations, a critical food source for many penguins. Krill feed on algae on the underside of the ice, and as the ice shrinks, so does the available algae to support a thriving krill population. With less food available, the penguins' breeding success is impacted. Recent research has shown a decrease of more than 30 percent in chinstrap penguins, and local Adelie penguin populations are also declining.
What is the possible solution? It's not too late for penguin populations, despite the fact that more than two-thirds of the world's penguin species are listed as either threatened or endangered. Careful monitoring of fossil fuel use and other factors that can impact melting Antarctic ice can help slow the loss of that ice and help bolster penguin populations. Global measures need to be taken, however, or as waters continue to rise penguin populations will continue to sink.
Photo © Chad Rosenthal