The Interior Department announced last week that the African penguin will be listed as an endangered species under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. Thanks in large part to a legal settlement with Turtle Island Restoration Network and the Center for Biological Diversity concerning a lack of protection for the penguin.
This is great news for African penguins, who have suffered a major decline in population throughout the past several decades — a 95 percent drop since pre-industrial times.
The African Penguin (Spheniscus demersus), also known as the Black-footed Penguin, is found on the south-western coast of Africa, living in colonies on 24 islands between Namibia and Algoa Bay, near Port Elizabeth, South Africa, with the largest colony on Dyer Island, near Kleinbaai. Because of their donkey-like braying call they were previously named Jackass Penguins. Since several species of South American penguins produce the same sound, the African species has been renamed African Penguin, as it is the only penguin species that breeds in Africa. The presence of the penguin gave name to the Penguin Islands.
There are three other colonies of penguins near Cape Town at Boulders Beach, near Simon’s Town and Stony Point in Betty’s Bayand in Namibia,
The closest relatives of the African Penguins are the Humboldt Penguin and Magellanic Penguin.
Thanks to Turtle Island Restoration Network and the Center for Biological Diversity fwho are the driving forces behind the work concerning a lack of protection for the penguin.
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