According to experts, it has been stated that the African penguins, whose populations have decreased rapidly in the last century, may become extinct in the next few decades.
This penguin species, whose natural habitat is the southern coast of the African continent, is on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Animals.
Despite the efforts of volunteers, multiple human factors, from industrial fishing to fuel spills, continue to decimate the African penguin population. The population of African penguins has fallen by 98 per cent in a century
Research Director Dr Katta Ludynia stated that only 2 per cent of the population at the beginning of the 20th century remained, “There were millions of penguins in the region at the beginning of the 20th century. The 2021 data shows that we only have 10 thousand breeding pairs left in South Africa.” she said.
Dr Ludynia pointed out that while 20,000 couples lived on a single island in the region just 20 years ago, only 10,000 couples remain in the whole country today, highlighting the danger, “This decline is so dramatic that the models we have are disappearing in just a few decades. It shows that it can happen,” he said.
Noting that the main reason for the decline in the population today is the lack of fish, Ludynia said that this situation is due to the overfishing of sardines and anchovies, which are the main nutrients of penguins, as part of the developed fishing industry in South Africa. Ludynia also said that climate change, fuel leaks, underwater noise pollution caused by heavy sea traffic and some epidemics are important factors in the rapid extinction of the African penguin population.
Resource Development Director Ronnis Daniels pointed out that much more volunteers are needed for the rescue of penguins and said that they invite everyone around the world to volunteer work for this.
Daniels said, “Those who want to save African penguins can join our 6-week international volunteer program. Also, unqualified ones can join our 3-month internship program.” said.
He said that the most important feature sought for those who will participate in the internship program is to take a firm stand to protect the African penguin species.