Penguins play an important role in the functioning of marine ecosystems. They transfer nutrients from the sea to their colonies on land, which then provide nutrients to adjacent terrestrial and marine ecosystems.
Penguins help to keep fish populations healthy by selecting fish that are small and/or in poor body condition.
They also herd shoals of fish to the surface. This makes the fish easier for other seabirds, such as gannets to catch.
To the economy:
The possible extinction of African penguins will not only lead to the loss of a charismatic species but will also have far-reaching economic impacts through job losses for tourism and conservation. Areas like Boulders Beach in Simon’s Town and Stony Point in Betty’s Bay on the Cape coast will lose this iconic species that attracts many people to visit these areas, and Africa will lose the only endemic penguin species on the continent.
Image credit: Steven Benjamin
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