April 24, 2017 Our Stories 0

You are most probably reading this because just like us you love penguins. They are charismatic creatures with a universal appeal. We love them because of their adorable clumsiness on land, waddling along to the beat of their own rhythm. Penguins are committed partners and will normally stay with one partner for life and they are devoted parents.  All the more reason to love them.

When they enter the Big Blue they shrug off the clumsiness and these flightless birds become masters of flight. Flying through a medium denser than air, they display all the gracefulness that they lack on land.

Photograph – Chris Fallows© www.apexpredators.com

Penguins have inspired films, books, photographers, and artists all around the world, but despite their global popularity many penguins species are in trouble and humans are largely to blame. All penguin species occurs in the southern hemisphere from the cold Antarctica to the warm Galapagos. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) the majority of penguin species are in trouble. Of the 18 species of penguins, 11 are listed as threatened with extinction. In the last 24 years, 14 species upgraded (more like downgraded in this case) to a more severe conservation status. Penguins are the sentinels of the oceans. They help us to understand the effects of pollution, overfishing and climate change on the marine environment.

You may ask: “So what will happen if all the penguins disappear?”

All life on earth is interconnected. Penguins play an important role in the eco-system both on land and in the ocean. They are part of the food chain and very importantly they carry nutrients between land and sea and enrich both with their high-phosphate guano.

Major threats

  • Climate change
  • Food depletion
  • Habitat degradation
  • Introduced predators and invasive disease

What can we do to help?

Promote the establishment of more Marine Protected Areas around penguin colonies. Large-scale marine reserves help to keep ecosystems intact, this is not just good for penguins but also for the biodiversity of our oceans.

Promote responsible fisheries management. Industrial fishing can put stress on penguin populations. Responsible fisheries management takes into account the foraging needs of predator species such as penguins. It does not always mean that fisheries must stop fishing. We believe in a fair and balanced approach and that there is a solution that will benefit both penguins and people.

Improving the habitat of the penguins by effective habitat management is critical to protecting the penguins. These actions include:

  • Managing introduced predators and preventing disease outbreaks. Instituting proper management measures to reduce the impact of tourism will ensure that penguin colonies can thrive into the future.
  • Instituting proper management measures to reduce the impact of tourism will ensure that penguin colonies can thrive into the future.
  • Effective disaster management in the event of an oil spill.

Contribute to those organisations who are making a difference in the holistic management of penguin populations. Help us to rebuild the African penguin population by supporting our cause:

To learn more about the penguins of the world, download our Penguin 101 fact file.