Legal Settlement Will Protect Seven Penguin Species at Risk From Global Warming and Fisheries

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Catherine Kilduff,
Center for Biological Diversity,
(415) 644-8580
Todd Steiner/Teri Shore,
Turtle Island Restoration Network,
(415) 663- 8590 x 103/104

Legal Settlement Will Protect Seven Penguin Species at Risk From Global Warming and Fisheries

SAN FRANCISCO - A federal judge yesterday approved a settlement that requires the
federal government to finalize protections for seven penguin species under the Endangered Species Act. The court-ordered
settlement results from a lawsuit filed by the Center for Biological
Diversity and Turtle Island Restoration Network (TIRN) challenging the
Obama administration's failure to finalize its determination that these
penguins warrant Endangered Species Act protection due to threats from
climate change and commercial fisheries.

"Penguins are poster children for the devastating
effects of climate change," said Catherine Kilduff, a Center attorney.
"The Endangered Species Act provides a springboard for protecting
penguins and our planet."

In 2006, the Center filed a petition to list 12 penguin
species under the Act. In December 2008, the Interior Department
proposed listing seven of those penguins as threatened or endangered -
African, Humboldt, yellow-eyed, white-flippered, Fiordland crested,
erect-crested, and a population of the southern rockhopper penguins -
while denying listing to emperor and northern rockhopper penguins
despite scientific evidence that they are also threatened by climate
change and commercial fisheries.

"Industrial fisheries and ocean warming are starving the
penguins. Longlines and other destructive fishing gear entangle and
drown them," said Todd Steiner, biologist and executive director of
TIRN. "Finally the government is throwing penguins a lifeline to
recovery by protecting them under the Endangered Species Act."

Today's settlement guarantees protections for the seven
penguin species the Interior Department proposed for listing; the
Center and TIRN also intend to file suit against Interior for denying
protections to emperor and northern rockhopper penguins. Warming
oceans, melting sea ice, and fishery harvests have wreaked havoc on
penguins' food supply: Krill, an essential nutrient for penguins,
whales, and seals, has declined by up to 80 percent since the 1970s
over large areas of the Southern Ocean.

The Endangered Species Act listing will protect penguins
from multiple threats, raise awareness of their plight, and increase
research funding. The Act also has a key role in managing greenhouse
gas pollution by compelling federal agencies to analyze and reduce the
impact of the emissions generated by their activities on listed
species.

For more information on penguins, please see: http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/species/birds/penguins/index.html.

Turtle Island Restoration Network (TIRN) is an environmental
organization working to protect and restore endangered marine species
and the marine environment on which we all depend. Headquartered in
California, with offices in Texas and Costa Rica, TIRN is dedicated to
swift and decisive action to protect and restore marine species and
their habitats and to inspire people in communities all over the world
to join us as active and vocal marine species advocates. For more
information, visit www.SeaTurtles.org and www.TIRN.net

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At the Center for Biological Diversity, we believe that the welfare of human beings is deeply linked to nature - to the existence in our world of a vast diversity of wild animals and plants. Because diversity has intrinsic value, and because its loss impoverishes society, we work to secure a future for all species, great and small, hovering on the brink of extinction. We do so through science, law, and creative media, with a focus on protecting the lands, waters, and climate that species need to survive.

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