African penguins need your help.
In the early 1900s, it is estimated there were between 1.5 and 3 million individual African penguins across the species’ range along the Namibian and South African coast. It is estimated that there were close to 1 million pairs on the West Coast’s Dassen Island alone. However, by the mid-1950s, only 10% of these were left, due to egg harvesting and guano removal. Since 1979, when the first full count of the major South African colonies was conducted, the breeding population has declined from ~55 200 pairs to a mere ~10 000 breeding pairs in 2021.
The current African penguin population is only about 10 000 breeding pairs in South Africa and 4 000 breeding pairs in Namibia, the lowest numbers ever recorded.
With such a small number of individual birds in the wild, the population will be functionally extinct by 2035.
This means that the population will be so small that it will no longer be able to
breed enough to increase numbers again.
African penguins were classified as Endangered on the Red List by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in 2013. If we want our children to see African penguins in the wild, the time for action is NOW. If we wait, it will be too late...
Image credit: Steven Benjamin
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