African Penguin (Spheniscus demersus)

Kingdom: Animalia
Class: Aves
Order: Sphenisciformes
Family: Spheniscidae


African Penguin - The Final Frontier
African Penguin - The Final Frontier

African penguins have a broad band of black that is in the shape of an upside-down horseshoe on their fronts. There have black spots scattered over their chest area. They make a loud braying sound that has given them the name the "Jackass penguin". They stand about 27 inches (60 cm tall) and weigh from 7 to 11 lbs. (2.5 to 4 kg).



Population: There are only 70,000 breeding pairs left in the world. In 1999, it was estimated that only 224,000 adults left. There is about a 2% annual decrease in the amount of African Penguins, which is very concerning. However, from the early 1990s to 1999, the population increased from 179,000 to 224,000. What is most scary is that the population of African Penguins dropped 90% from 1900 to 1999. In 1900 it was estimated that there were 1.5 million on just one of the breeding islands, Dassen Island, alone.

African Penguin - The Final Frontier
African Penguin - The Final Frontier

Range: Found in southern Africa, the African penguin is known to breed on 24 islands between Hollamsbird Island, Namibia and Bird Island in Algoa Bay, South Africa.

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Threats:


Initially, the fall in numbers was mostly due to over-collection of eggs for food, and disturbance caused by guano collection for fertiliser. These factors have now largely ceased, and the major current threats include competition with commercial fisheries for pelagic fish prey, and oil pollution. African Penguins also face predation of eggs and chicks by avian predators such as Kelp Gulls and Sacred Ibises, while natural terrestrial predators, such as mongoose, genets and leopard are present at the mainland colonies.
Conservation:


1. Protected by its listing on Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species ,and on Appendix II of the Convention on Migratory Species
2.The breeding areas in South Africa are protected by National Parks.

3.The collection of guano or egg is banned.
African Penguin - The Final Frontier
African Penguin - The Final Frontier


Video:



Sources:"ARKive - African penguin videos, photos and facts - Spheniscus demersus." ARKive - Discover the world's most endangered species. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Mar. 2012. <http://www.arkive.org/african-penguin/spheniscus-demersus/>."African Penguins." Southern Indiana Education Center. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Mar. 2012. <http://www.siec.k12.in.us/~west/proj/penguins/africanpen.html>."Penguins: African Penguins - Spheniscus demersus." Penguins of the World - Official IPCWG Guide to Penguins. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Mar. 2012. <http://www.penguins.cl/african-penguins.htm>."The Animal Files.com." African Penguins. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Mar. 2012. < http://www.theanimalfiles.com/birds/penguins/african_penguin.html>.