Friday, July 13, 2007

US moves to protect ten penguin species

Citing global warming as a threat, the United States has taken a key step toward instituting protections for emperor penguins and nine other penguin species under the US Endangered Species Act। On Tuesday the government's Fish and Wildlife Service announced a 90 day review of the status of the ten penguin species citing threats to them from commercial fishing, competition for prey, contaminants and pollution to habitat loss due to climate change.
With none of the ten species native to the United States -- virtually all penguins live in the southern hemisphere -- a listing under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) would give them "limited and indirect protection," according to a statement from the Fish and Wildlife Service।"A listing would make it illegal to engage in certain activities such as the import or export of specimens of these species without an ESA permit, which is issued only if an activity has a conservation benefit. Listing would also focus international attention on the species' conservation needs," the service said.The 10 species under consideration for a protection ruling include the emperor penguin, the southern rockhopper penguin, the northern rockhopper penguin, the fiordland crested penguin, the erect-crested penguin, the macaroni penguin, the white-flippered penguin, the yellow-eyed penguin, the African penguin, and the Humboldt penguin.
They mostly inhabit the countries ringing or nearest to Antarctica, as well as the Antarctic continent itself.After collecting more data and comment from the public, the Fish and Wildlife Service will make a decision on whether to propose any or all of the penguin species for inclusion in the US Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants.

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