65% of species in Antarctica at risk of extinction, emperor penguins are more at risk: Report
More than 65 per cent of plants and animals could go extinct by the end of this century if the current global emission trajectories remain the same, a new study has claimed.
Among the Antarctic species which is at the greater risk of extinction includes emperor penguins, followed by other seabirds and dry soil nematodes, the study published on Thursday in the journal PLOS Biology stated.
The research is part of an international collaboration between scientists, conservationists and policymakers from 28 institutions in 12 countries.
“Up to 80% of emperor penguin colonies are projected to be quasi-extinct by 2100 [population declines of more than 90%] with business-as-usual increases in greenhouse gas emissions,” it found.
The study also found that the current conservation strategies are not working in Antarctica and asserted that an extra layer of protection, which is estimated to cost US$23m annually, can protect up to 84 per cent of the continent’s vulnerable biodiversity.
“There are multiple threats impacting Antarctic species despite the fact that we think of it as this remote and pristine wilderness. The greatest threat is not coming from within,” said the study’s lead author, Dr Jasmine Lee, of the British Antarctic Survey, reports the Guardian.
Co-author of the study, Dr Aleks Terauds from the Australian Antarctic Division, said that the research highlighted that “biodiversity is under considerable pressure in Antarctica”.
“Antarctica is very well protected through the Antarctic treaty and through the protocol [on environmental protection],” Terauds was quoted as saying.
“But the uniqueness of the continent, its wilderness values and the incredible biodiversity means that we’re still looking for things that we can do to try and ensure that things are impacted as little as possible,” he added.