Penguin Conservation Status
If the various species of penguins are going to survive, protecting them is very important. There are quite a few conservation efforts in place to try to help them get their numbers up and to have a fighting chance. In many locations, penguins have been widely hunted. When they are boiled, they offer a great deal of oil from the fat layers in the skin.
In other regions, penguin eggs have been widely collected from the nests. They are considered to be a delicacy. Trying to get laws in place to change these cultural elements is very important. It can help protect adult penguins as well as enable the young eggs to be able to have the chance to be chicks that reach the age of maturity so that they can mate themselves.
Problems in their natural environment continue to be an issue for penguins. In many locations, the land that they once used for socializing, mating, and laying eggs has been taken over by humans. As a result, they are less likely to mate than normal. In some locations, the introduction of various land animals also have created new predator threats for the penguins.
Commercial fishing has depleted the food source in many locations for the penguins. This is a serious issue because without storing enough fat they can’t survive mating periods or molting periods where they won’t be in the water for food. When penguins have to spend more time in the water to find food, it also increases the risk of them becoming prey for various predators as well.
Getting caught in fishing nets can severely injure or kill penguins. Many of them panic when tangled up and that causes them more harm. They can also drown due to not being able to come to the surface for air. Those that do get free are often at risk of not being able to swim away from predators or find food due to flipper damages.
Pollution in the water continues to be a huge problem for penguins. Plastics can easily be swallowed and cause digestive problems. Chemicals in the water can kill fish and it can also harm the penguins as well. Oil spills create conditions that they aren’t able to live in. When the sticky oil gets on their feathers, they are limited in movement.
There are 17 species of penguins, and 12 of them are on the IUCN red list of threatened species. Another 3 species are considered to be endangered. It is going to take significant efforts to get these populations in the wild to the point where they will no longer be on such a list. Protecting the environment, education, and stiff penalties for those that harm or kill penguins all need to be part of the efforts to help them.
Penguins seem to do well in captivity with a variety of environments that simulate what they are used to in the wild. Many of these displays are also part of breeding programs to increase overall numbers. The goal is to eventually be able to release some of them back into the wild. There are also captivity programs for penguins with injuries. Rehabilitation and care is offered to these creatures that would otherwise die in the wild.
Even though it is currently illegal to hunt penguins or to collect their eggs, it still occurs. There simply isn’t enough man power out there to enforce the law or to make sure that stiff penalties are given to those involved in such actions. Until more is done to prevent such problems though they will continue.