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The small African Penguin lives in south and southwest Africa. It only stands about twenty-seven and a half inches off the ground and weighs about six and four tenths pounds. The African Penguin is black and white. It has a broad black band that curves around their front and looks like an inverted horseshoe, and their chest is dotted with a few black spots in random patterns. When they are young, African Penguins are very dependent on their mother for food in which they eat fish and crustaceans and protection. It does not even learn how to swim until it is about nine weeks old. In it's youth the penguin is guarded for about forty days and they go out on their own when they are about seventy to one hundred days old.
The African Penguin (pheniscus Demersus) is also called the Black-footed Penguin or the Jackass Penguin. They are called this because of the loud braying noise, which the little penguins make. This species is the only species that breeds anywhere in Africa. It breeds on some twenty islands, from Hollams Bird Island off the coast of Namibia to Bird Island in Algoa Bay.
At one time the population of the African Penguin was quite large but some man caused factors has drastically reduced their species. A long time ago the early European settlers at the Cape of Good Hope realized that penguin eggs were good for eating and over the years millions of penguin eggs have been collected greatly reducing the population of the African penguin species, and even to make things worse they started the practice of destroying any incubated eggs so that there would be fresh ones when these collectors paid their next visit. Another reason the African Penguin population was decreasing is Guano on the islands on which the penguins breed. It became the basis for a new industry and workers removed thousands of pounds. This disturbed the birds and because the islands were scraped down to their bare rock the penguins could not dig their burrows into the Guano for their nests and so the penguins and their chicks became more vulnerable to the Kelp Gull. They became more vulnerable because they were more easily seen. One of the big reasons why the African Penguin's population began to decline was because of over fishing in the nineteen fifties and the nineteen sixties. Fishermen were extensively fishing for pilchards, which reduced the food supply for the breeding African Penguin. Then the penguins could not feed
their young or themselves so they started to die off. Another result of this is there was a lower breeding success due to starving pregnant penguins.
And finally one of the biggest man caused reasons of the decrease in the African Penguin population was the spills caused by oil tankers going past the coast of Africa. The penguins in the water could not escape the oil and were killed.
There were also some animals that caused the decrease in population of the African Penguin. For example there was an increase in the population of Cape Seals in the waters off of the southern coast of Africa. The seals interfered with the nesting and breeding of the penguins which decreased the number of penguins born. The Cape Seals also ate a lot of the African Penguins food supply, which made many of the penguins die of starvation.
Many things are being done to help build the population of the African Penguin such as a law saying that are person is not allowed to fish within ten kilometers of penguin breeding colonies. There is also a law saying that people are not allowed to scrape Guano from the islands that the penguins breed on so the penguins can dig their burrows and lay their eggs. For protection from the Cape seals there have been walls made around the penguins breeding area to try and keep out the seals so they do not interfere with the breeding of the penguins. This still will not stop
the using up of the penguins food by the Cape Seals. Another thing that has been done to increase the population of the penguins is having places
made where oiled up penguins can be treated. The people that
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Flightless birds, Penguins, African penguin, Little penguin, Algoa Bay, Magellanic penguin, Rockhopper penguin
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