Saturday, April 26, 2008

Saving African Penguins

The African penguin is currently threatened and will probably soon be classified as endangered. The Seneca Park Zoo has one of the largest number of breeding pairs approved by the SSP.

Black-footed penguins are also called jackass penguins due to their braying call.

The Black-footed penguin population has suffered a greater decline in the past 80 years than any other penguin species. Until it was halted in 1969, intensive commercial egg collecting reduced the penguin numbers. Guano harvesters have removed a lot of the topsoil in areas where these penguins breed, leaving them less material in which to burrow. Commercial fisheries compete with penguins for food fish.

The biggest problem today is chronic oil spills from accidents and leaking tankers as well as waste from commercial boat traffic. These have polluted the waters off South Africa and contributed to the species' decline. Because of their concentrated numbers, the entire Black-footed penguin population could be wiped out by a catastrophic oil spill. This was nearly the case in 2000 when an oil spill came in the middle of the penguin's breeding season and thousands of chicks and eggs were expected to be lost.

Photo: Annette Lein

1 comment:

Yvonne said...

wow, we have to do more to prevent them from being endangered. SAVE THE PENGUINS!!!