Jennifer has taught elementary levels K-3 and has master's degrees in elementary education and curriculum/instruction and educational leadership.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Smaller Amounts of Prey
Even if the fishing boats that travel around Antarctica and Africa only caught fish, this would still be a problem for the penguins. Why? Because the main item in a penguin's diet is fish. When more and more fish are caught by humans, this means less for the penguins to eat. This has been a factor in the decline of penguin numbers.
People are Helping
Luckily, there are people who want to help these fancy, funny birds. There are projects in place where people rescue the eggs of African penguins that have been abandoned and they help these babies to hatch and survive. Plus, there are laws put in place that protect penguins and their eggs from being hunted or harmed. With these efforts, hopefully the penguin populations will start to increase.
Several types of penguins, including the African and Galápagos penguins, are endangered because their populations are decreasing. One reason that penguin numbers are getting smaller is because of bycatch, where they are caught accidentally in fishing nets. Their prey and habitats are getting smaller due to climate change, which is increasing the Earth's temperature.
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