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African penguins (Spheniscus demersus), Cape Peninsula, South Africa ©Will Burrard-Lucas

"Photographing penguins in Africa is a slightly incongruous experience! However, the sight of penguins on an African beach may not exist in the near future. The ease of seeing them at Boulders Beach, just a short drive from Cape Town, belies how endangered they are. The fact is, if the population decline is not halted, then the African penguin could go extinct within the next 20 years."

   

LET'S TALK NUMBERS: In the 1930s, South Africa’s largest penguin colony had one million African penguins, but by 2014 only an estimated 25,000 breeding pairs were estimated to remain across the whole of the country and Namibia.

   

THREATS: As a result of commercial fishing, habitat loss, and oil spills, as well as a southern shift in their food source of anchovies and sardines that are migrating into cooler waters, African penguins are undergoing a very rapid population decline.

   

IUCN RED LIST STATUS: Endangered

      

HOW TO HELP: Thanks to organisations such as SANCCOB and their Chick Bolstering Project, many abandoned chicks have been rescued during moulting season, and 95,000 injured, oiled, abandoned or 'at risk' African penguins and other seabirds have been treated since 1968. If your heart skips a beat for these happy feet, you can support SANCCOB by making them a beneficiary on your MyPlanet card.