The emperor penguin faces extinction by the end of the century.

Researchers in America say the species -- documented in the 2005 film "March of the Penguins" -- is threatened by climate change in the Antarctic.

If rising temperatures continue to melt sea ice at current rates, the population of a large emperor penguin colony in Terre Adelie, Antarctica, will shrink from 3,000 to just 400 breeding pairs, according to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (WHOI) on Cape Cod.

The prediction is based on evidence from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). If replicated in other colonies, the species could be devastated.

Stephanie Jenouvrier, a biologist from WHOI, said: "If the future behaves anything like the IPCC models predict, the Terre Adelie population will decline, probably dramatically."

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