Happy Feat: 10 Penguin Species Could Gain Endangered Species Protection

The emperor penguin and nine other penguin species could gain protection under the Endangered Species Act next year, thanks to a petition filed with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service by the Center for Biological Diversity. The CBD reports that the ten species are the emperor, southern rockhopper, northern rockhopper, Fiordland crested, erect-crested, macaroni, white-flippered, yellow-eyed, African and Humboldt penguins.

The CBD had also petitioned for two additional species -- the snares crested penguin and the royal penguin -- which the Fish and Wildlife Service judged were not currently eligible for Endangered Species Act protection.

Warmer waters (caused by global warming) and diminishing food supplies (caused by industrial fishing, pollution and other factors) are to blame for the penguins' threatened status, says the CBD.

The Fish and Wildlife Service will publish its recommendation that Endangered Species Act listing "may be warranted" next Wednesday in the Federal Register. The Service must then solicit public comments and issue its proposed rules on protecting the species' by November. "Final protection under the Act would occur within one year thereafter," says the CBD.

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