According to ornithologist Pavel Smirnov, who works at the Zoological Museum of Moscow State University, climatic changes may lead to the extinction of a number of penguin species. At the same time, birds living on the islands are most at risk.
According to the scientist, populations of narrow-range species live on the territory of small islands near Antarctica, which are the most vulnerable in conditions of warming and a reduction in the food supply. Among them, the genus Pygoscelis is especially at risk. These birds can still be found in Antarctica, on the Falklands, Kerguelen, islands in the Southern Ocean.
Extinction is also threatened by the genus Spheniscus, which lives off the southern shores of South America, Africa and the Galapagos.
History knows only one episode, when the species of penguins became extinct due to humans and the mammals introduced by them. This happened in the 15-17 century interval on the Chatham Islands in New Zealand. The Polynesians who colonized these territories brought the entire population of Chatham crested penguins to death.
Data from scientific expeditions last year show that the number of penguins on Penguin Island in Antarctica has decreased by 75% over the past four decades. One of the main reasons is the disappearance of the krill that these birds feed on.