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T O P I C     R E V I E W
fs
Member # 1181
 - posted June 04, 2007 03:36
The African penguin - adorable and endangered

Excerpt:
Environmentalists here have made the bird's rescue into a public crusade, arguing, in effect, that the little penguin is the canary in the coal mine - a barometer of problems besetting other seabirds and the oceanic chain of life.

They could have a point. The penguins' travails have many mothers, but the biggest one is food. African penguins live mostly on anchovies and sardines, which loitered until recently in huge shoals off western South Africa, where Robben and Dassen islands are situated.

But starting around 1997, the sardines began to relocate east, closer to Cape Agulhas, Africa's southernmost point. The effect has been to reduce the penguins' main course to a few canapes, and their headcount shows it: Penguin populations on Robben and Dassen have slumped by as much as 25 percent a year since 2001.

More mobile species might simply follow the sardines and anchovies to a new home. The African penguin is prisoner to his island, limited to foraging for food in waters no more than about 40 kilometers offshore. When the sardines leave, the penguins have scant choice but to hunker down and wait for them to return.

But the fish may not return for decades, if ever. The sardines' relocation may be part of a worldwide shift that occurs every 50 years or so, scientists say. Commercial fishing, which has depleted sardine stocks in other parts of Africa, could be a factor.

So might climate change: This month, for example, several dozen scientists concluded that the sardine movements were related to changes in the Benguela current, a vast, frigid flow of nutrient-rich ocean water from Antarctica up the southwest Africa coast.


Since all the climate change discussions seem focused on the big things... melting sea water and Kevin Costner growing gills or an ice-bound NYC with filled with roaming packs of wolves... it seems like people forget the possiblity of a little current shift here and a few little fishes move there, and then suddenly a whole bunch of penguins are really really hungry.

It's pretty much a given that humanity will adapt and survive (and help the species of plants and animals that we need to do so as well) to pretty much any of the projected climate changes. Not so those penguins, or many other lesser known species.
 
Cyclone
Member # 9223
 - posted June 21, 2007 21:09
Its the same with all the other penguins too, they depend on similar ocean currents, and lots of them are being threatened 'coz of it. And we've still got the whales to worry about. Japan's whaling fleet's still ops, isn't it?
 
fs
Member # 1181
 - posted June 23, 2007 04:36
There are a couple countries that whale. Japan, I think. Norway still kills whales. The U.S. allows native populations (Inuit? Eskimo? Don't know) to whale, and Canada may as well. I'm not sure who else.
 
Zwilnik
Member # 615
 - posted June 23, 2007 06:24
Iceland's wiped out all its cod stocks, so it's talking about restarting commercial whaling (despite having massive frozen stocks of whalemeat that nobody wants). So there goes there booming tourist industry from all the whale watchers.
 
Cyclone
Member # 9223
 - posted June 23, 2007 07:10
How about commercialising Icelander-Hunting [devil wand]


Hunting Season's Open, Folks! 50 cents an Icelander, and you get a refund if you shoot them in the nuts! [evil]


I'm a whale-lover...
 
The Famous Druid
Member # 1769
 - posted June 23, 2007 17:02
quote:
Originally posted by Zwilnik:
Iceland's wiped out all its cod stocks

Of course, the Brits, Canadians, Septics, Spanish etc etc fishing in the same ocean had absolutely nothing to do with it.
 
Mr. Dave
Member # 1977
 - posted June 24, 2007 18:59
quote:
Originally posted by The Famous Druid:
Of course, the Brits, Canadians, Septics, Spanish etc etc fishing in the same ocean had absolutely nothing to do with it.

I'll bite. "Septics?"
 
The Famous Druid
Member # 1769
 - posted June 24, 2007 19:09
quote:
Originally posted by Mr. Dave:
I'll bite. "Septics?"

Rhyming slang.
 
Ashitaka
Member # 4924
 - posted June 25, 2007 04:42
quote:
Originally posted by The Famous Druid:
quote:
Originally posted by Mr. Dave:
I'll bite. "Septics?"

Rhyming slang.
I'll have to remember that one.
 




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