Friday, 19 Dec, 2008 Environment
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Bush Administration Intends to Protect Seven Penguin Species

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The Bush administration took the decision to protect seven species of penguins. As the Fish and Wildlife Service proposed, six penguin species should be referred to threatened species and the seventh to endangered ones.

However, it didn't take proper measures to protect three other types such as northern rockhopper penguins and the emperor, which became popular after the release of "Happy Feet" and "March of the Penguins".

As local officials said, protective measures in relation to endangered species of the United States were rather limited as penguins inhabited mostly remote places like New Zealand, South Africa, Antarctica and South America. But there is no doubt that new regulations included in the act will draw public attention to these species supplying the U.S. with the necessary leverage in the course of international negotiations which should help to take immediate actions protecting animals from fishing and habitat loss.

Environmentalists approved the decision to list six species of penguins, but were rather critical about the disregard of other species such as the emperor, world's largest penguin, which needs sea ice to get food and to breed. As for southern rockhopper penguins it was mentioned that only a part of their population was under protection of law.

"Penguin populations are in jeopardy, and we can't afford to further delay protections," said Brendan Cummings, director of the oceans program which suggested the administration in 2006 that a dozen of penguin species should be protected. The government stated that the information about two of the species was not sufficient to approve the program.

The regulations presented by Bush administration haven't come into force yet and are exposed to the public eye. The Obama administration will have to make the final decision even if it requires a complete review of the act.

As the administration explained, there were not enough reasons to regard the emperor as a threatened species, although ecologists predicted an increase in temperature which could cause the melting of Antarctic ice, thus reducing populations of penguins.

At present, about 390,000 emperor penguins inhabit Antarctica. Although many populations are high in number, a dozen of species fall to decay and the main reason is global warming according to a recent research.

The Bush administration has also taken the polar bear under protection as this species was threatened by global warming. However, the administration included a number of regulations to provide that the law can't forbid projects which may contribute to climate change.

Posted by sharaeff

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