Penguinas an Endangered Species
Purpose:To explore the key factors that has endangered penguins and possiblemeasures that can save penguins.
Thesis:The population of penguins has been decreasing rapidly as a result ofthe increase in the incidents of oil spills that destroy theirhabitats, hunting, and climate change.
The Macaroni species have the highest population of about 11 million penguins while Galapagos has the lowest population of between 6,000 and 15,000 penguins (Cambray, 2014).
Preview of main points
Reasons for being classified as endangered species
It is estimated that most of penguin colonies will lose close to half of their population by 2011 (Bio Expedition, 2015).
Risk factors for the rapid decline in the population of penguins
Climate change has contributed towards the rapid decline in the sea ice in the major penguin habitats, including the Ross Sea and Southern Ocean in New Zealand (Bio Expedition, 2015).
Most of the penguin hunting activities occurred in the late twentieth century where over 13 million eggs of the African penguins were collected and more than millions of mature penguins killed for the extraction of oil (Silver, 2015).
Oil spills destroy habitats of penguin, which forces them to migrate to areas that do not favor their reproduction and survival (Bio Expedition, 2015).
Possible measures that can be used to protect penguins
Controlling irresponsible disposal chemicals and oil products into the seas and oceans can protect the penguin habitats and give them an opportunity to reproduce again (New England Aquarium, 2015).
The development of clinics near the penguin habitats is an effective strategy that can save the lives of millions of penguins in case of accidents, such as massive oil (Penguin Foundation, 2015).
The population of penguins has been endangered by three key facts that include the large scale hunting, climate change, and massive oil spills.
Effective strategies should combine multiple measures, including the current anti-hunting laws, the development of clinics near penguin habitats, and the formulation of internal laws to regulate the disposal of oil and oil products.
Penguinas an Endangered Species
Theincrease in the number of animal species that are perceived to be atthe risk of extinction is a major concern to the stakeholders in thewildlife conservation sector. Animals are considered to be endangeredwhen their population declines at a higher rate compared to the rateof their reproduction. Penguins have been classified as an endangeredspecies on the grounds that their population has been decreasing at asignificantly higher rate. Currently, the Macaroni species have thehighest population of about 11 million penguins while Galapagos hasthe lowest population of between 6,000 and 15,000 penguins (Cambray,2014). The population of penguins has been decreasing rapidly as aresult of the increase in the incidents of oil spills that destroytheir habitats, hunting, and climate change.
Reasonsfor being classified as endangered species
Penguinsare currently being considered as an endangered species because it isestimated that most of their colonies will lose close to half oftheir population by 2100 (Bio Expedition, 2015). Emperor penguin isamong the colonies that are more endangered than others. Emperorpenguins depend heavily on the sea ice. Other studies conducted bybiologists have projected that about two-thirds of the colonies ofemperor penguin will have disappeared by the end of 20100 (BioExpedition, 2015). This confirms that all biologists and scholarsagree to the fact that the population of penguins has been decliningat a higher rate than their rate of reproduction, hence qualifying tobe classified as endangered species.
Riskfactors for the rapid decline in the population of penguins
Thereare three key factors that have endeared the population of penguinsacross the globe. First, climate change has destroyed the mating andhabitats of penguins, which have left them with limited places tobreed in and bring up their chicks. For example, climate change hascontributed towards the rapid decline in the sea ice in the majorpenguin habitats, including the Ross Sea and Southern Ocean in NewZealand (Bio Expedition, 2015). These changes have also created aharsh environment that has in turn forced penguins to change theirchick raring patters. Most of the chicks die young, which hasresulted in continuous decline in the population of penguin colonies.
Secondly,hunting of penguins and their products (such as eggs) has alsocontributed towards the decline in their population. Most of thepenguin hunting activities occurred in the late twentieth centurywhere over 13 million eggs of the African penguins were collected andmore than millions of mature penguins killed for the extraction ofoil (Silver, 2015). Their tails are rich in oils that provide energyfor swimming and keeping their bodies warm. Although the large scalehunting has been stopped, it has been impractical to stop the huntingof penguins completely. There are still some people who are huntingpenguins and their eggs, though in small scale, which reduces thecapacity for this endangered species to recover the population thatit lost during the twentieth century massive hinting. Apart from thehunting activities done by human beings, penguins are also hunted bydogs and foxes among other wild animals, which make it even moredifficult to control the decline in the population of penguins.
Third,there are many human activities that have endangered the lives ofmature penguins and reduced chances for the survival of their chicks.One of these activities is the oil spills that mainly occur in theinternational waters. Oil spills affect the population of penguins inmultiple ways. These spills destroy habitats of penguin, which forcesthem to migrate to areas that do not favor their reproduction andsurvival (Bio Expedition, 2015). In addition, oil spills killpenguins by coating their feathers, which reduces their insulationfrom the cold weather. In addition, many penguins swallow toxic oilsas they try to clean up their feathers, which lead to stomach lesionsand suppression of their immune system (New England Aquarium, 2015).In one of the recent events, an oil spill that occurred when MVTreasure sunk a few miles from the South African Coast endangered thelives of close to 40,000 penguins (New England Aquarium, 2015). Inessence, oil spills kills penguins and destroy their breedinggrounds.
Possiblemeasures that can be used to protect penguins
Thestakeholders who are expected to protect the wild animals haveinvested heavily in the formulation of laws that prohibit the huntingof penguins. However, the continuous decline in the population ofpenguins confirms that laws alone cannot save this endangeredspecies. Controlling irresponsible disposal chemicals and oilproducts into the seas and oceans is one of the measures that canprotect the penguin habitats and give them an opportunity toreproduce again (New England Aquarium, 2015). In addition, thedevelopment of clinics near the penguin habitats is an effectivestrategy that can save the lives of millions of penguins in case ofaccidents, such as massive oil. This measure has been proven to beeffective in Australia, where over 96 % of the penguins were rescuedduring the massive oil spills at Phillip Islands that occurred in20001 (Penguin Foundation, 2015). These penguins were treated at theWildlife Clinic located on Phillip Island.
Therapid decline in the population of penguins has resulted in theirclassification as one of the most endangered species in the modernworld. The population of penguins has been endangered by three keyfacts that include the large scale hunting, climate change, andmassive oil spills. The combination of these three factors hasresulted in the death of mature penguins and the destruction of theireggs before they can hatch into chicks. Controlling the hunting ofpenguins through strict laws has been proven to be effective enoughto save this endangered species. Therefore, effective strategiesshould combine multiple measures, including the current anti-huntinglaws, the development of clinics near penguin habitats, and theformulation of internal laws to regulate the disposal of oil and oilproducts.
BioExpedition (2015). Penguins Endangered. BioExpedition.Retrieved August 5, 2015, fromhttp://www.penguins-world.com/penguins-endangered/
Cambray,J. (2014). Basic facts about penguins. Washington, DC: Defenders ofWild Life.
NewEngland Aquarium (2015). Penguin conservation. NewEngland Aquarium.Retrieved August 5, 2015, fromhttp://www.neaq.org/education_and_activities/teacher_resources/classroom_resources/teacher_guides/penguin_teacher_guide/penguin_conservation.php
PenguinFoundation (2015). Wildlife Rehabilitation. PenguinFoundation.Retrieved August 5, 2015, fromhttp://penguinfoundation.org.au/about-us/wildlife-rehabilitation
Silver,D. (2015). The world of penguins: Protecting penguins. Nature.Retrieved August 5, 2015, fromhttp://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/the-world-of-penguins-protecting-penguins/1913/