Spectacled penguins may disappear in 11 years (7 photos + 1 video)

Category: Animals, PEGI 0+
16 May 2024

Spectacled penguins, or African penguins, are critically endangered. They are suffering due to overfishing and climate change. Scientists say that if urgent action is not taken, these birds will disappear by 2035.

South African Coastal Bird Conservation Trust SANCCOB in Cape Town treats injured, abandoned, sick or oil spill-affected penguins. Among them are spectacled penguins, which are endangered. These birds began to disappear after the double whammy of overfishing and climate change. Scientists say that unless urgent action is taken, African penguins will disappear by 2035, leaving just 8,300 breeding pairs in South Africa. Every year, the hospital cares for an average of 500-600 African penguin chicks and 300-400 eggs, and their number is growing every year.

"With African penguin populations suffering from dwindling food supplies near their colonies, there is a significant risk that the species could become extinct if action is not taken. Numerous chicks are abandoned around this time of year - just before their parents begin molt cycle. During this time, adults go for food, and can leave their chicks for a long time due to a long search for food or high temperatures, “climate change is also leading to flooding of their habitats,” says researcher Albert Snyman.

This year, staff at the South African center took care of 279 African penguins. The main task of the rescue center is to rescue weak birds from the wild, restore their health and release them back so that they can successfully reproduce. This is how experts try to preserve the population. Some of the penguins arrive at the rescue center terribly malnourished, with slow heart rates and many with lung problems. Some penguins are given IVs and blood transfusions if necessary, the tiny chicks are fed sardines every two hours, other procedures are performed and they are cared for in every possible way.

In addition to endangered penguins, the center's patients include penguins that have been attacked by dogs, swallowed fishing line or run over by cars. Another serious threat to penguins is oil spills, which also harm their health.

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