International African Penguin Awareness Day is celebrated annually on October 15th. Although we often think of penguins as living in cold climates, there are actually species of penguins that live in warm climates – such as African penguins.
International African Penguin Awareness Day is an opportunity for people to help this species, as their population has been rapidly declining over the past century. Currently, there are estimated to be only 60,000 African penguins left in the wild, and scientists predict they could go extinct within 70,000 years.
The main threat to African penguins is a lack of food sources. African penguins prefer to eat small fish, such as anchovies and sardines, which have become scarce due to commercial fishing and changes to the marine ecosystem caused by climate change. Adult penguins must travel further from the shore for food, leaving their cubs vulnerable. Other threats include habitat loss, predators, pollution, disease, and human interference.
- At the beginning of the 19th century, there were approximately 4 million African penguins.
- By 1910, the population had dropped to 1.5 million.
- By the end of the 20th century, their population had decreased even further to 10%.
- In 2010, the estimated number of African penguins was around 55.
How to take part
To help this species, start by learning more about environmental issues and making an effort to reduce your plastic use and properly dispose of all garbage. When buying seafood, ensure that it comes from sustainable sources and is on the SASSI list. Spread awareness about the plight of African penguins and tell your friends and acquaintances about their situation. Together, we can all contribute to their salvation.
When is International African Penguin Awareness Day celebrated in 2023?
International African Penguin Awareness Day is observed on the second Saturday of October each year.