African Penguin Awareness Day

We all know about Penguin Awareness Day in April, but who knew there was African Penguin Awareness Day?  Well, the Penguin Post did, and wouldn’t ya know it,  it’s this coming Saturday. In light of African Penguin Awareness Day  exciting new research shows that at least three species of penguins have independently colonized Africa in the past.  But, today only one of those species, Spheniscus demersus, the African Penguin survives. Unfortunately, these penguins are endangered and making a day like this for these waddlers is more important than ever. Population levels for the African (Jackass) Penguins in the wild have plummeted by over 90% in the past hundred years and they are now considered to be endangered, meaning that there is indeed a real risk they won’t be around for much longer in the wild.  Devoting a day to these wonderful penguins should mean devoting ourselves to learning as much as we can about these charismatic warm weather waddlers and pledging to treat our planet and our penguins as best we can.  Penguins are generally considered to be a good sentinel species for the ocean environment. This means that their relative well-being is a good indicator of the health of the overall ecosystem; the challenges facing the African penguins are not really unique to penguins. They suffer from over-arching problems like over-fishing, climate change, habitat loss, introduced predators and, particularly for the African penguin, oil pollution, as written about with passion and detail in Diane DiNapoli’s The Great Penguin Rescue. To quote the eminent Lloyd Spencer Davis, “Saving penguins is not really about saving penguins; it is about saving every living thing–all of us.”

A great read for penguin lovers.

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