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Ten Penguin Species March Toward Endangered Species Act Protection

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  • Tim Jones
    Ten Penguin Species March Toward Endangered Species Act Protection http://www.enn.com/net.html?id=2035 July 11, 2007 - By the Center for Biological Diversity
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 12, 2007
      Ten Penguin Species March Toward Endangered Species Act Protection
      http://www.enn.com/net.html?id=2035
      July 11, 2007 - By the Center for Biological Diversity

      WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. government has announced it is advancing
      the emperor penguin and nine other penguin species toward protection
      under the federal Endangered Species Act. The action comes in
      response to a petition filed by the Center for Biological Diversity
      in November 2006 seeking protection for the species, followed by a
      June 2007 Notice of Intent to Sue the agency for failing to respond
      to the petition. The primary threats to penguins are global warming
      and industrial fisheries.

      Abnormally warm ocean temperatures and diminished sea ice have
      wreaked havoc on penguin food availability in recent decades. Less
      food has led to population declines in species ranging from the
      southern rockhopper and Humboldt penguins off South America to the
      emperor penguin in Antarctica. The ocean conditions causing these
      declines have been linked by scientists to global warming and are
      projected to intensify in the coming decades.

      The emperor penguin colony at Pointe Geologie, which was featured in
      the film March of the Penguins, has declined by more than 50 percent
      due to global warming. Krill, an essential food source for penguins,
      whales and seals, has declined by up to 80 percent since the 1970s
      over large areas of the Southern Ocean. Studies indicate that even
      under the most optimistic greenhouse gas emission scenarios,
      continued warming over the coming decades will dramatically affect
      Antarctica, the sub-Antarctic islands, the Southern Ocean, and the
      penguins dependent for survival on these ecosystems.

      "These penguin species will march right into extinction unless
      greenhouse gas pollution is controlled," said Kassie Siegel, director
      of the Center's Climate, Air, and Energy Program. "It is not too late
      to save them, but we have to seize available solutions to global
      warming right away. I hope the penguins' tragic plight will motivate
      people to support stringent greenhouse gas reductions."

      Each of the petitioned penguins also faces threats in addition to
      global warming, from introduced predators, disease, habitat
      destruction, disturbance at breeding colonies, oil spills, and marine
      pollution to direct harvest. Many species are also hurt by industrial
      fisheries, either directly - such as when individuals are killed in
      trawls, nets and longlines - or indirectly, through the depletion of
      essential prey species like anchovy and krill. Similar fishing fleets
      figure prominently in the hit movie Happy Feet, which features two of
      the petitioned species, the emperor and rockhopper penguins.

      "While our greenhouse emissions melt away the penguins' world, our
      industrial fishing fleets are depleting the oceans of their food,"
      said Brendan Cummings, director of the Center's Oceans Program. "If
      penguins are to survive in a world dramatically altered by global
      warming, we must eliminate all other threats to these wonderful
      creatures - first and foremost, by reforming our abysmally managed
      fisheries."

      Listing under the U.S. Endangered Species Act will provide broad
      protection to penguins, including a requirement that federal agencies
      ensure that any action carried out, authorized, or funded by the
      government will not "jeopardize the continued existence" of the
      species. Monday's finding, to be published in the Federal Register
      today, was made by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which found
      listing "may be warranted" for 10 of the 12 species covered in the
      petition. The Endangered Species Act requires the Service to solicit
      public comment and issue a proposed rule by November. Final
      protection would occur one year thereafter.

      The 10 species are the emperor, southern rockhopper, northern
      rockhopper, Fiordland crested, erect-crested, macaroni,
      white-flippered, yellow-eyed, African and Humboldt penguins. Two
      other species, the snares crested penguin and the royal penguin, were
      found not to warrant Endangered Species Act protection at this time.

      Additional information, including the Wildlife Service's finding, the
      petition, photos, and range maps for each species are available at
      http://www.biologicaldiversity.org

      The Center for Biological Diversity is a national nonprofit
      conservation organization with more than 35,000 members dedicated to
      protecting endangered species and wild lands.

      Contact Info:
      Kassie Siegel
      Tel : 760-366-2232 x 302
      Cell : 951-961-7972
      Website : the Center for Biological Diversity
      --
      <http://groundtruthinvestigations.com/>
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