There are a couple of reasons African Penguins are endangered:
First of all, since the 1800s, humans have been harvesting guano to use as fertilizer. Guano is seabird waste, and can be found feet deep in some of the areas where South African penguins live. They burrow down in it to nest, which protects them from predators. Now with much of it missing, they don’t have the necessary protection to keep predators from eating their eggs.
Another factor is overfishing: humans have drained the oceans of the penguins’ food supply. Humans also take the penguins’ eggs, so it is harder for them to reproduce. Last, oil spills have been a huge threat to them.
Though your question is about S. African penguins, I want to bring attention to some species that live off the coast of S. America. The Humboldt penguins, for example, can be found in waters off Peru and Chile; they are an endangered species that was greatly devastated by the El Niño of 1997-98. As normally warm waters cool due to that weather pattern, food sources for penguins were depleted as their prey moved to other waters in search of more favorable conditions and food. As a result, the penguins starved. And of course, human endeavors have a major impact on populations, including: “oil spills…collecting their eggs for food, disturbances caused by tourists and researchers, and introduced predators such as rats, cats and dogs”.
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