Tens of thousands of breeding penguins abandon site as climate change impacts on ice.
Scientists have raised concerns over Antarctica’s second biggest breeding ground for emperor penguins, where virtually nothing has hatched for the past three years.
Usually 15,000 to 24,000 breeding pairs of emperor penguins flock yearly to a breeding site at Halley Bay, considered a safe place that should stay cold this century despite global warming.
But almost none have been there since 2016, according to a study in Antarctic Science.
Black-and-white with yellow ears, emperor penguins are the largest penguin species, weighing up to 40kg and living about 20 years. Pairs breed in the harshest winter conditions with the male incubating their egg.
Scientists blame the sharp decline on climate and weather conditions that break apart the “fast ice” – sea ice that is connected to the land – where the emperor penguins stay to breed.
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