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BAT130 Emperor Penguin Self Adhesive (Adult) BAT130 Emperor Penguin Self Adhesive (Adult)
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BAT130 Emperor Penguin Self Adhesive (Chick) BAT130 Emperor Penguin Self Adhesive (Chick)
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BAT130 Emperor Penguin Self Adhesive (Juvenile) BAT130 Emperor Penguin Self Adhesive (Juvenile)
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BAT130 Emperor Penguin Self Adhesive (Pair) BAT130 Emperor Penguin Self Adhesive (Pair)
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BAT130 Emperor Penguin Self Adhesive (Swimming) BAT130 Emperor Penguin Self Adhesive (Swimming)
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BAT130 Emperor Penguin Self Adhesive Sets BAT130 Emperor Penguin Self Adhesive Sets
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EMPEROR PENGUINS


Of the 6 penguin species that reside in the Antarctic only two can truly claim the continent as their homeland – emperors and Adélies. Unlike other penguins, emperor penguins are dependent on stable sea ice that is firmly attached to the shore (‘land-fast’ ice) for the majority of the year, from April through to January. Once they arrive at their chosen breeding site, penguins lay eggs in the Antarctic winter from May to June. Eggs hatch after 65 days, but chicks do not fledge until summer, between December and January. It is this dependence on sea ice that has left them so highly vulnerable in recent years.


For example, in 2022 it is thought that no chicks had survived from four of the five known emperor penguin colonies in the central and eastern Bellingshausen Sea. Scientists examined satellite images that showed the loss of sea ice at breeding sites, well before chicks would have developed waterproof feathers.


Over the past seven years, sea ice around Antarctica has decreased significantly. By the end of December 2022, sea ice extent was the lowest experienced in the 45-year satellite record. In the Bellingshausen Sea, sea ice didn’t start to re-form until late April 2023. Since then, the deviation from the norm has intensified: as of 20 August 2023, the sea ice extent was 2.2 million km2 lower than the 1981-2022 median (17.9 million km2). This missing area is larger than the size of Greenland, or around ten times the size of the United Kingdom.


Between 2018 and 2022, 30% of the 62 known emperor penguin colonies in Antarctica were affected by partial or total sea ice loss. Although it is difficult to immediately link specific extreme seasons to climate change, a longer-term decline in sea ice extent is expected from the current generation of climate models.


Emperor penguins have previously responded to incidents of sea ice loss by moving to more stable sites the following year. However, this strategy won’t work if sea ice habitat across an entire region is affected. Recent efforts to predict emperor penguin population trends from forecasts of sea ice loss have painted a bleak picture, showing that if present rates of warming persist, over 90% of colonies will be quasi-extinct by the end of this century.


The plight of the emperor penguins is a dramatic example of ecosystem annihilation. Climate change is melting sea ice at an alarming rate.


The United Kingdom and the Government of the British Antarctic Territory are working to try to get an agreement to announce emperor penguins as a specially protected species at the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meetings (ATCM). In 2019 the UK was supported by a number of other countries when it notified the ATCM that emperor Penguins were threatened by the loss of their breeding habitat and that further protections should be developed. At the 2023 ATCM further studies were presented by an international group of scientists to delegates that demonstrated the extreme impact the break-up of fast ice has had on emperor penguins.


Technical details:

Designer Andrew Robinson

Printer Cartor Security Printing

Process Lithography

Stamp Size – Letter Rate 38 x 30.6mm (gummed).

Perforation 13 ¼ x 13 per 2cms

Stamp Size – Postcard Rate 30 x 30mm (self-adhesive)

Sheet Layout 10 (2 x 5 designs)

Release date Expected November 2023

Production Co-ordination Creative Direction (Worldwide) Ltd

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