African penguins on the brink

African penguins have been “promoted” from vulnerable to endangered species.

According to this article, “The colonies around our coast have shrunk to dangerously small numbers,” said Ross Wanless, Seabird Division Manager for BirdLife South Africa. “Now the colonies are very vulnerable to small-scale events, such as bad weather, seal predation or seagulls taking eggs. In a large, healthy population these events were trivial. Now, they have potentially serious consequences. We’re almost at the point of managing individual birds.” he said.

Consider the numbers:

  • In 1956, there were 150,000 breeding pairs.
  • In 2009, there were 26,000 breeding pairs.

This is a loss of roughly 90 birds a week.

Two months ago, I wrote about efforts to restrict fishing in parts of the waters off the Cape.

I hope these efforts are not too little too late.

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