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 Post subject: Addo: Penguins
Unread postPosted: Wed Jun 16, 2010 5:36 pm 
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Penguin chicks are dying of cold after the recent rain.

Quote:
Hundreds of penguin chicks die as winter takes its toll
Themba Boyi | 1 Hour Ago

The Addo Elephant National Park says this week’s cold front has taken a toll on African penguins’ breeding colonies in Algoa Bay.

At least 480 chicks have frozen to death on Bird Island between Tuesday and Wednesday.

The African penguin’s declining population has resulted in it being re-classified, as "endangered".

The birds are in their breeding season at the moment, and the chicks are between a few weeks and two months old.

The Park’s spokesperson, Megan Taplin, said the young birds aren’t well insulated.

“…they only have the down covering and that’s no protection from cold and wet weather at the same time.”

She said rangers on the Island had been trying to save as many chicks as possible after getting more than 20 mm of rain overnight on Tuesday.

“They’ve been trying to drain the nests that have filled up with rain … and then they’re also using things like old pipes to just put down on the ground over the penguin chicks to provide them some kind of shelter.”

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 Post subject: Re: Penguins die of cold.
Unread postPosted: Wed Jun 16, 2010 5:58 pm 
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It has been freezing cold, and combined with rain... But on the other hand, I suppose they do breed in freezing weather, and it is not the first time that cold is combined with rain in the former Cape Province? Perhaps elimination of the weakest? However, it still remains very, very sad.

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 Post subject: Re: Penguins die of cold.
Unread postPosted: Wed Jun 16, 2010 6:06 pm 
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Very sad but this is nature :cry: :cry:

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 Post subject: Re: Penguins die of cold.
Unread postPosted: Wed Jun 16, 2010 7:09 pm 
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One problem is that many of our offshore islands have been stripped of the guano, which provided a layer in to which holes could be dug. These holes would provide the chicks with protection against cold and predatory birds.

The HR's have been involved in a project to provide artificial nests on some of these islands.

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 Post subject: Re: Penguins die of cold.
Unread postPosted: Wed Jun 16, 2010 7:13 pm 
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Very, very sad. Is it colder, or is there more rain that normal. What is the guano, and has it been stripped due to human interference

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 Post subject: Re: Penguins die of cold.
Unread postPosted: Wed Jun 16, 2010 7:19 pm 
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definition of guano ...... the excrement of sea birds; can be used as fertilizer, but why this particular guano was stripped I don't know

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 Post subject: Re: Penguins die of cold.
Unread postPosted: Wed Jun 16, 2010 7:27 pm 
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Exactly. Bird droppings had piled up for millions of years until humans decided in the 19th century to strip it for use as fertilizer.

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 Post subject: Re: Penguins die of cold.
Unread postPosted: Wed Jun 16, 2010 8:15 pm 
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So it's human intervention in the environment again :redface: :redface:

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 Post subject: Re: Penguins die of cold.
Unread postPosted: Wed Jun 16, 2010 8:22 pm 
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Not too sure of the current official overall numbers or what the expected average natural mortality rate would be, but that sounds like a serious blow to the overall population given their current status. Not good news at all ---


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 Post subject: Re: Penguins die of cold.
Unread postPosted: Wed Jun 16, 2010 8:47 pm 
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Thats not good news at all :(

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 Post subject: Re: Penguins die of cold.
Unread postPosted: Wed Jun 16, 2010 9:19 pm 
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:( :( :( :(


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 Post subject: Re: Penguins die of cold.
Unread postPosted: Wed Jun 16, 2010 9:30 pm 
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Does this not usually happen during cold winters or is the winter maybe very early this year?


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 Post subject: Re: Penguins die of cold.
Unread postPosted: Thu Jun 17, 2010 1:37 pm 
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It's the cold combined with the wet and the strong wind = wind chill factor. We have had an abnormal amount of rain on the island: 63 mm over the past three days and winds of up to 95km/h. We don't normally get a lot of rain in June at all.

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 Post subject: Re: Penguins die of cold.
Unread postPosted: Thu Jun 17, 2010 1:50 pm 
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The African Penguin has just been moved from Vulnerable to Endangered on the IUCN Red List.

This from a document by BirdLife SA.


Quote:
African Penguins are currently the focus of extensive conservation action which is being conducted
by a number of organizations in the Western Cape and Eastern Cape, and a concerted effort will be
needed to lift this embattled penguin from its precipitous population decline. “BirdLife South Africa’s
conservation work on the African Penguin is being funded by the Charl van der Merwe Trust and
Diemersfontein Wine Estate”, said Anderson. “Along the coast of Namibia and South Africa (the only
current breeding sites for the species), only seven islands now support 80% of the global population
which decreased from 141 000 pairs in 1956-1957 to an estimated 25 262 pairs today, representing
a decline of 60.5% over three generations”, explained Dr Ross Wanless, the Manager of BirdLife
South Africa’s Seabird Division.

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 Post subject: Re: Penguins die of cold.
Unread postPosted: Thu Jun 17, 2010 2:48 pm 
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Thank you Megan and Imberbe :thumbs_up:


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