African Penguins in Peril as Race for Climate Deal Quickens

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Date: Dec. 2, 2015
Publisher: Getty Images, Inc.
Document Type: Video file
Duration: 00:00:03
Length: 216 words
Content Level: (Level 4)

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Reports from the cold clear waters at Boulders Beach in Cape Town, where African penguins are so relaxed they swim among humans and waddle past sunbathers on the sands.
AFP/Getty Images

One the sunny beach of south of Cape Town, one of the city's most celebrated and curious residents is dying out. The number of African penguins has seen a sharp decline over recent years. And scientists in South Africa are determined to find out why before it's too late.

The decline is fairly rapid. I mean, if you think back to 1930s, there was a million breeding pairs. So we've lost 98 percent of the original population.

The main reason for the drop in penguin numbers is the scarcity of their main pray, sardines and anchovies. But the decline in fish stock leaves scientists divided. Some blame overfishing, others climate change.

[Inaudible] there has been some sort of environment-type changes. There may be also changes in the upwellings, timings, and obviously claimant change.

A plan to establish a colony for penguins on the south coast closer to their shifting food course is among proposals aimed at saving the species.

We're obviously doing everything that we can as a rehabilitation center to release as many birds back into the wild. But the concern is that it's not slowing down.

While the future of African penguins looks bleak, one thing is certain, scientists and nature lovers will need to work hard to ensure the survival of the species.

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Gale Document Number: GALE|CT3208640506