Penguin Chicks Face Increasing Risks

February 3, 2014

The life of a young Magellanic penguin has never been easy. Now, a new study shows that the vulnerable chicks face additional threats to their survival from climate change.

Magellanic penguins have always been vulnerable in their earliest days; however, a new study shows that climate change is directly affecting their changes for survival. The result is a limbo period that leaves the young Magellanic penguins extra vulnerable to the elements.

There is past documentation that climate change puts a strain on penguin food sources, but now a study from Punta Tombo, Argentina has found that intense storms and extreme heat are also serious threats. With their downy coats, the young penguins can get dangerously soaked by rainfall and they have no respite from extreme heat as the adults do, with their waterproof feathers.

Ongoing research on Magellanic penguins found that typically, nearly two-thirds of hatchlings didn’t survive due to predators and starvation. The rise of deaths cause by heavy storms, and to a lesser extent, heat waves, is a trend mirrored by wildlife in the Canadian Arctic as well.

Read the full article on the New York Times >>
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