November 12th. 2007
Having always been fascinated by emperor penguins, I have decided that for this research paper, I will be conducting reasearch on emperor penguins and how they will be affected by climate change, global warming. When we think of Emperor Penguins or penguins in gerenal, first thing that come to mind for most people has to be the popular movie Happy Feet. But what more do we know about these adorable animals outside of the movie? What kind of problems are they facing? What is causing these problems? My paper will cover these issues. Before investigating the problems Emperor Penguins are facing, we should first find out more about what they are and where they are from. Emperor Penguins are the heaviest and tallest of all penguins species, and are found in Antartica. Both male and female are Emperor Penguins have similar size and plumage (the color, pattern, arrangement and the layer of feathers that cover the penguin). Their head and back are black in color while their ear patches are yellow and white.,their belly are white and slowly turns to a pale yellow around their breasts. These movie famed penguins weight ranges from 49 – 100 lb, and are roughly 45 inches tall. They can stay under water up to 18 minutes and dive up to 565 meters in depth.
These flightless bird's adapt in the harsh weather of Antarctic by cooperating together. They move in close huddles to fight the cold while conserving heat. They would take turns moving into the center of the group where it is the warmest, then move to the outer circle of the huddle once they warm up a little, and let the other penguins into the middle of the huddle to hide from the freezing wind. Other than bracing the extremely cold weather on open ice, the Emperor Penguins also breed during this period of icy environment. The females will lay an egg then leaves for a hunting expedition that could last up to two months. The female travels sometimes travel around 50 kilometers just to get to open ocean. Their diet includes krills, fishes, and squids, Antarctic silverfish makes up most of the Emperor Penguins' diet. While their female companion are out hunting, the male Emperor Penguins are left to guard their unborn in egg, they will not eat during this period of time. Unlike chickens, Emperor Penguins do not sit on their eggs to keep their egg warm. They keep them warm and protect them from danger by balancing their egg on their feet, and covering the egg with their feathered skin. The female Emperor penguins will return with a belly full of food for their newborns, and male Emperor Penguins will start to search for food themselves.
Emperor Penguins are not endangered at the moment, they are very heavily populated in Antarctica. However, as global warming is in process of taking place, the future on these penguins are not looking to bright. As of Right now, the main concern for the Emperor penguins is Global warming., which has a very high chance of thinning the huge population of Emperor Penguins down to 400 breeding pairs by the end of the century from an abundant 3000 breeding pairs today. Researchers has also calculated that there are around forty to eighty percent chance that the population of the Emperor Penguin will decline by ninety-five percent.
As global warming works it way down the road, the Antarctica sea ice is threatened and projected to shrink by the end of the century. The Emperor Penguins are very dependent on sea ice, as Emperor penguin spend most of it's life span on ice, breeding and raising their young almost exclusively on ice grounds. If the ice shrinks or breaks, the breeding stage will proven to cut the survival rate of new born Emperor Penguins by a lot. Even right now, there is only fifty percent chance that chicks will survive to the end of the breeding season, while only fifty percent of those become fledglings that live until the next year. Losing ice ground to