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Sunday, September 27, 2015

Population of African Penguins along South Africa’s West Coast has dropped by 90%

African penguins, the tourist attraction near Cape Town, South Africa, which are the continents only flightless bird are on the verge of being extinct. This rapid decline has led to a ban on commercial fishing in four key areas seven years ago to see whether that could help save the penguins
Although officials have put a ban on fishing in almost four key areas seven years ago to help save the penguins. But still scientists are debating whether fishing is the only major threat to the population of the species.

As per experts, if the present situation continued, then in no time the specie will disappear. In the 1930s, South Africa's largest colony had a several million of African penguins. But at present only 100,000 of the birds remain in all of South Africa and neighboring Namibia, the only places where the species exists.
Anchovies and sardines, which are the biggest components of South Africa's fishing industry, are also the primary food sources of the African penguins. Both fisheries scientists and bird specialists agree that the decline of the penguin began around 2004 with a shift in anchovies and sardines away from the colonies.

Scientists said they are still not sure why the fish have moved from the colonies, but they hypotheses that the possible cause could be climate change, overfishing and natural fluctuations.

So far several penguins have died or abandoned their chicks, with hundreds winding up in the crowded outdoor pens of a rehabilitation center run by the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds, which releases rehabilitated penguins into the wild every week.

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