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Penguin Species in Danger of Extinction

Penguin Species in Danger of Extinction

The African penguin is in serious danger of becoming extinct.

The Boston Globe reports on the troubles facing the African penguin; unsurprisingly humanity is once again responsible for the damage. The seas surrounding their habitats in South Africa and Namibia have been overfished by commercial boats. Climate change has also driven the penguin’s food sources away.

All of this — in addition to oil spills – has created a terrifying one-two punch for the African penguin, whose numbers have been dropping at rates so fast they are alarming scientists.

Our desire for seafood has created many problems for the natural environment. Commercial boats have overfished to the point where fish stocks are being depleted. Destroying the food supply of other species puts more than just the survival of sea animals at risk.

Our industrialized culture is also a threat to the penguin on multiple levels. Firstly, human transportation is a large contributor to global climate change, but still smaller than animal agriculture. And between ships and rigs, there have been oil spills in recent years which are also negatively impacting the penguins themselves, as well as their food supply.

Jessica Kemper, senior seabird biologist for Namibia’s ministry of fisheries and marine resources says the African penguin is in “big time” trouble, and may go extinct in this century. Scientists are startled by the fact that in the last eight years, the African penguin population has dropped by almost 66 percent.

Over half of the world’s penguin species are in serious population declines.

I certainly don’t agree with prioritizing animals based on their attractiveness to humans, but penguins are very media-friendly animals. Between movies like Happy Feet, March of the Penguins and Madagascar, penguins have engendered a lot of affection from human beings. When an animal that humans care so much about is in danger, it is easy to garner sympathy and action to help them.

But what we have to realize is that all animal issues are interconnected. We cannot help the penguins if we continue to eat seafood. The commercial fishing industry is destroying the food sources of penguins and other species to satisfy our arbitrary tastes. We cannot help the penguins if we continue to farm animals for food, as animal agriculture is a larger contributor to global climate change than transportation. And climate change is destroying the penguins’ habitats and food supplies.

Respecting the life of one animal requires that we respect the lives of all animals.

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Photo: Paul Mannix

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7:44AM PST on Jan 22, 2015

Angela P, I couldn't agree more! This is the real root of the problem. And of course all the children who are born will aspire to a western lifestyle if they can get it, and like as not, not bother about it being harder on the planet.

5:19AM PST on Jan 22, 2015

not good

5:57PM PDT on Oct 22, 2014

sadly noted...don't give up.....keep working to do good

6:53PM PDT on Oct 17, 2014

Angela, you can think. Please pass on the skill wherever you can!

12:22PM PDT on Oct 17, 2014

We are killing the world to house and feed the human population which is wiping everything off the earth. What happens when the last tree is cut down, the last river is poisoned, and the last animal goes extinct?

World Population Today - Current World Population 7,268,085,348, Births today 240,603, Deaths today 98,532, Population growth today 141,370, Population growth this year 64,789,725.

If anyone has not yet been to this site, check it out - You can visually see the population growing faster than you can imagine.

Something has got to give and I don't think a lot of people are aware that we are the problem.

I made a choice early in life if I wanted children I would adopt. Wish more people would have this attitude since there are so many orphaned, abused and unwanted children in the world already.

Better birth control throughout the world is what is needed.

1:24PM PST on Jan 26, 2013

We should protect the oceans much better instead of fishing so much that we empty them.

4:48AM PST on Jan 25, 2013

Let's do something before we can only see them in books

1:25PM PST on Jan 15, 2013

please visit


(and then share it)

10:00PM PDT on Nov 1, 2010

I don't eat seafood fact, I don't eat any meat at all.

8:29AM PDT on Oct 24, 2010

Monique, you have said it all - 6.8 billion and counting!!

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