FWS Finalizes ESA Protection for Emperor Penguins

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) announced a final rule providing Endangered Species Act (ESA) protection to the emperor penguin as a threatened species. FWS found that climate change is the greatest threat to the emperor penguin and thus extended prohibitions for endangered wildlife to the emperor penguin, under Section 4(d) of the ESA. The decision is notable given FWS’ prior refusal to take climate change into account when making listing decisions for other Arctic species reliant upon sea ice. The new ESA rule is effective November 28, 2022.