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MARINE INITIATIVES


"..an extraordinary extinction of species is taking place all over the world, breaking vital links in the chain of life.

We are aware that most large fish species, including cod, marlin, swordfish and tuna are critically endangered, and huge dead zones are appearing in our oceans; silent places devoid of life.

It took billions of years for nature to develop dynamic, viable relationships between Earth and its countless life forms. Now, in just over a hundred years, these natural balances are threatening to fall irrevocably out of kilter. We are witnessing first-hand a massive disruption of Earth’s life systems, and all fingers point to one culprit: man." — Lawrence Anthony

In 2008, we at Miss Earth South Africa pledged to aid the plight of penguins. Our objective is to create awareness and support for this beautiful and unique creature.

“I sat upon the rocks, with the ocean sounds behind me, and before me and beneath the boulders where I sat the penguins waddled back and forth. This is a place of God; of creation, of purity and yet man has been the cause for the diminishing numbers of this species. They are so different to other creatures and they seem to know so much more than us. I would not want to live in a world that had been responsible for the extinction of this creature.” — Ella Bella

Oiled seabirds sometimes get a second chance, as SANCCOB and other partner conservation organisations are very successful in cleaning, rehabilitating and releasing them. These birds have a very good survival rate. We have pledged our support of SANCCOB. Their objectives are as follows:

    To rehabilitate ill, injured, oiled and orphaned sea birds on a daily basis

    Prepare for and manage the rehabilitation of sea birds during a major oil spill

    Raise awareness about conservation through environmental education

    Collaborate on research projects

In South Africa, we remain concerned about our African penguin population. The 2007 African penguin census counted about 31,000 breeding pairs.  This is only a fraction of the estimated four million penguins at the turn of the 20th century.  Even more alarming is the 2008 census that indicated the entire African penguin population to be only 26 000 breeding pairs. Factors that caused the decline in the numbers include guano harvesting and egg collection during the 1950's, oil spills and most recently, the declining fish availability, which is seriously threatening the population. SANCCOB aims to save the population by rehabilitating sea birds that are affected by oil spills, injured by predators, suffering from illness and hand rearing abandoned chicks.

 

Worldwide Stats

1) 2001-2011: 64.46% decline

Year

 Breeding Pairs in the Wild

2001

56 466

2004

51 755

2009

20 706

2010

21 653

2011

20 083

 

 

2) African penguins are still listed as Endangered (since 2010) on the IUCN Red list, yes. Refer to for additional information: http://www.iucnredlist.org/apps/redlist/details/106003861/0

3) Penguins as indicator species:

a. Penguins are quite easy to study as they’re very visible. As such, researchers can learn about the rate and nature of changes occurring in the southern oceans. As ocean samplers, penguins provide insights into patterns of regional ocean productivity (fish stocks, etc.) and long-term climate variation. Essentially, they are very sensitive to their surrounding environment and provide insight about larger ecosystems as a whole.

4) African Penguin are found on the south-western coast of Africa, living in colonies on 24 islands between Namibia and South Africa (near Port Elizabeth). Some of the more well-known colonies are Stony Point (Betty’s Bay), Boulders Beach (Simon’s Town), Robben Island, Dyer Island (Gaansbaai), Dassen Island (near Yzerfontein) and Bird Island (Algoa Bay)