African Penguin

The African penguin, or spheniscus demersus, is the only penguin species in Africa. The African penguin is under strict protection, for it is endangered with an annual decline rate of 2% per year. The African penguin lives it’s every day life facing the constant threat of extinction.

Firstly, I’ll provide some basic knowledge of the African penguin. The African penguin’s population is approximately 140,000, today. They live about 10-15 years and the average clutch size is 2 eggs. They eat fish, squid and crustaceans. Eighty percent of their diet pertains of fish, specifically anchovies. The African penguin averages 68 centimeters in length and weighs between 2.1 and 3.7 kilograms.

Secondly, the African penguin’s habitat includes 27 colonies from Namibia to Algoa Bay. These colonies include 24 islands. The largest concentration is along the Benguela river in Angola because of it’s nutrient rich waters. These penguins are monogamous meaning they return to the same colony each year. About 80% to 90% of pairs remain together in consecutive breeding seasons. Their nests have evolved over the years due to removal of guano (penguin feces) for commercial uses. Their nests were excavated on a cap of guano, but now are burrows or are located under bushes or rocks. This habitat disruption is a major part of why African penguins face the threat of extinction.

Furthermore, this removal of guano caused struggles to find new habitats, which caused a significant wane in numbers. Not only does habitat destruction play a major part in endangering the African penguin, but other contributing factors do too. These include oil spills and predation of eggs. Also, their predators are responsible for some deteriorate in the population. The African penguin's main predators are sharks, Cape Fur seals, Kelp gulls, mongooses, snakes, leopards and Sacred Ibises. Presently, there is less than 10% of the population than there was in 2000. The most significant decrease occurred in the twentieth century, before anyone was aware that African penguins were endangered. Human activity has been reduced around areas of breeding since then.

        In conclusion, though there are many efforts to try to save African penguins, numbers continue to decrease rapidly. The causes are habitat alteration, oil spills and predation of eggs.
Now take this new knowledge and use it to "Help save the African penguins!"