In Cape Town, South Africa, the numbers of penguins are dwindling at such a fast rate that they’re facing extinction.
- Why is This Happening?
When an animal's food supply changes, this causes them to arrive at a crossroads: either migrate to a new area where the food is available or suffer extinction. This is what is happening to penguins in South Africa whose food - sardines and anchovies - has been swimming to more chilled waters (which could be a result of global warming). This has caused penguins to have to swim greater distances to eat them, but sadly it leads to many of them suffering or dying.
- Penguins Killed By Dogs
Another factor that has exacerbated the issue is that of penguins being killed by dogs. Recently, eight endangered penguins were killed by dogs in a beach walkway in Simon’s Town. A ban to prevent dogs from being in the area has since been placed and will remain until further notice.
- Stop Eating Fish, Save the Penguins
It doesn’t help that anchovies and sardines are being fished in great quantities as food for people. The South Africa Department of Environmental Affairs has tried to protect various fishing grounds in an attempt to control the situation, but this has not led to much success. Fisherman in the area are also getting upset about this, claiming that other factors (such as sharks) are to blame for the decrease in penguin numbers, not fishing itself. This has led to a debate about the issue but there is no doubt that something has to be done and quickly in order to attend to the matter. At an individual level, if people stopped eating fish, it could help to prevent disruptions to the delicate food chain balance. This would enable animals such as our beloved penguins to have more food.
*Image courtesy Flickr Creative Commons