Why are Penguins Endangered? - Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Jennifer Lowery

Jennifer has taught elementary levels K-3 and has master's degrees in elementary education and curriculum/instruction and educational leadership.

Penguins are fascinating creatures that only live in a few areas of the world. In this lesson, learn about specific types of penguins that are endangered and discover the reasons why penguin populations are getting smaller.

Fancy Birds

Hey! Is that bird wearing a tuxedo? No, it's a penguin! With their white bellies and black flippers, penguins often look like they are dressed up to go to a fancy party.

Most types of penguins live in Antarctica, while some are known to live in Africa. One rare type, the Galápagos penguin, lives on the Galápagos islands and is the only type of penguin to live naturally in the northern hemisphere, or northern half of the planet.

Endangered Types

Some types of penguins are already endangered, which means their population is getting so small that they are in danger of no longer being in existence. The African penguin and Galápagos penguin are both considered endangered. In fact, there are believed to be less than two thousand Galápagos penguins left in the world.

The African penguin lives on the coasts of Africa, and is classified as endangered.

Other penguins are on the verge of becoming endangered, like the Emperor and Adelie penguins, which live in Antarctica. There are specific reasons why all of these penguins are in trouble. Let's find out why penguin populations are getting smaller and smaller.

Climate Change

Scientists believe that a major problem with our planet is something called climate change. This is when normal temperatures in areas of the Earth change due to the increased amounts of pollution that are caused by humans. Most penguins that live in Antarctica need icy areas to survive. They use the ice to find food and build nests, so you might be able to guess what climate change is doing to their habitats. That's right, the higher temperatures are melting areas where they can eat and live.

As climate change continues, the icy habitats that Emperor penguins need will continue to disappear.
emperor penguins

Dangers from Fishing

Another reason that penguins are in trouble is the fishing that occurs in their environments. While the goal of those fishing is not to catch penguins, sometimes penguins are trapped in the fishing nets by accident. When an unwanted ocean animal is caught in a fishing net, it is called bycatch. While penguins are excellent swimmers, they have to come to the surface to breathe. They can't do this when they are trapped in these nets and sadly, many of them drown.

Some penguins are endangered because they accidentally get caught in fishing nets.
ice fishing boat

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