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 Penguins / Pingoins

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Date d'inscription : 17/05/2007

MessageSujet: Penguins / Pingoins   Mar 14 Sep - 10:01

September 10, 2010

Penguin Species in Danger of Extinction

The African penguin is in serious danger of becoming extinct.

The Boston Globe reports on the troubles facing the African penguin; unsurprisingly humanity is once again responsible for the damage. The seas surrounding their habitats in South Africa and Namibia have been overfished by commercial boats. Climate change has also driven the penguin's food sources away.

All of this -- in addition to oil spills -- has created a terrifying one-two punch for the African penguin, whose numbers have been dropping at rates so fast they are alarming scientists.

Our desire for seafood has created many problems for the natural environment. Commercial boats have overfished to the point where fish stocks are being depleted. Destroying the food supply of other species puts more than just the survival of sea animals at risk.

Our industrialized culture is also a threat to the penguin on multiple levels. Firstly, human transportation is a large contributor to global climate change, but still smaller than animal agriculture. And between ships and rigs, there have been oil spills in recent years which are also negatively impacting the penguins themselves, as well as their food supply.

Jessica Kemper, senior seabird biologist for Namibia's ministry of fisheries and marine resources says the African penguin is in "big time" trouble, and may go extinct in this century. Scientists are startled by the fact that in the last eight years, the African penguin population has dropped by almost 66 percent.

Over half of the world's penguin species are in serious population declines.

I certainly don't agree with prioritizing animals based on their attractiveness to humans, but penguins are very media-friendly animals. Between movies like Happy Feet, March of the Penguins and Madagascar, penguins have engendered a lot of affection from human beings. When an animal that humans care so much about is in danger, it is easy to garner sympathy and action to help them.

But what we have to realize is that all animal issues are interconnected. We cannot help the penguins if we continue to eat seafood. The commercial fishing industry is destroying the food sources of penguins and other species to satisfy our arbitrary tastes. We cannot help the penguins if we continue to farm animals for food, as animal agriculture is a larger contributor to global climate change than transportation. And climate change is destroying the penguins' habitats and food supplies.

Respecting the life of one animal requires that we respect the lives of all animals.
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Date d'inscription : 17/05/2007

MessageSujet: Re: Penguins / Pingoins   Lun 31 Jan - 12:05

January 14, 2011

Tagging Penguins Limits Their Chances Of Survival
posted by: Judy Molland 17 days ago

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Tagging penguins by putting a band around their flippers significantly limits their chances of survival and ability to raise chicks, according to a study just released in Nature.

And why did it take a scientific study to demonstrate that having a band around your feet could interfere with your ability to get around?

Tagging Flippers Means Less Mobility

A French team of scientists put stainless steel bands on the flippers of 50 king penguins and put data chips under the skin of the tail in 50 others. The penguins lived on Possession Island.

Here are the details from The Guardian:

The researchers found that the survival rates for king penguins with flipper bands dropped by 16% and the birds produced 39% fewer chicks. The finding raises serious questions about the ethics of banding penguins for research and casts doubt on years of data produced by tagging the birds in this way.

Flipper banding, a technique that involves placing a band usually made of stainless steel under penguins' flippers to identify them, is used by some researchers to identify them and gather long-term information about their behaviour and ecology.....

The study, published today by French researchers in Nature, followed 100 penguins over 10 years, half of them with the bands and half without.

"At the end of the study we had much higher numbers of non-banded than banded birds," said Claire Saraux, at the University of Strasbourg who co-authored the study.

Bands also heavily impacted the birds' breeding success. "Banded birds would arrive later at the colony to breed and so they would begin breeding later. Our idea is because of the drag effect, they spend more time at sea and it takes them longer to swim back to the colony, so they are at a disadvantage," said Saraux.

Unethical To Continue Using The Tags

The French researchers conclude that continuing to use the tags would in most cases be unethical.

As first reported in The Guardian, Professor Rory Wilson of Swansea University, who has been conducting studies of penguins for three decades, spoke out strongly: "It is going to be very difficult as a scientist to come back and defend flipper banding," he stated, adding that although the practice has been in decline in recent years, there is no comprehensive ban or policy against it internationally.

Maybe it's time for that to change.
Read more: tagging, banding, animal welfare, king penguins, nature journal, university of strasbourg, university of swansea
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