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06 Oct 2020

Observe African Penguin Awareness Day with SAAMBR

(Berea Mail) Picture: According to research, at the current rate of decline, the African penguin will be functionally extinct in the wild by 2035.

Join the South African Association for Marine Biological Research (SAAMBR) and support African Penguin Awareness Day, held on the second Saturday of October each year. The day is dedicated to raising awareness of the plight of the endangered African penguin as it has seen a population reduction of 99 per cent since the beginning of the 20th century.

That is a drop from more than one million breeding pairs to less than 15 000 breeding pairs.

According to SAAMBR, at this rate of decline, it is estimated the African penguin will be functionally extinct in the wild by 2035.

The human induced threats to the African penguin include the increasing seafood demand by humans, seawater temperature changes, oil spills, human disturbance at breeding colonies and penguins being caught in discarded fishing nets.

SAAMBR currently cares for a colony of more than 50 African penguins.

“The rehabilitation programme is very successful and, once rehabilitated, birds are released, unless their condition or injury prevents them from surviving the wild,” said SAAMBR’s animal welfare and behaviour manager, Gabby Harris.