Environment

Watch | African penguins under threat from tourists

African penguins are found only in South Africa and Namibia. They are also known as jackass penguins for their braying call. The penguins re-colonised a beach near Cape Town in the 1980s and have since become a major tourist attraction.

But now, they are classified as endangered and tourism is accelerating the endangerment. These penguins go through a molting phase during late December and early January.

It is when they lose their old feathers and get new ones. These molting penguins are specifically under a lot of stress because they can't go and feed. During this process, the penguins also lose an oily residue which places them at risk if they enter the ocean.

Forced interaction with tourists during the peak summer season causes them to flee for cover in the ocean. Stress from dealing with tourists even results in death. Conservationists now recommend tourists to keep a good distance away from the penguins.

Printable version | Dec 3, 2020 4:38:18 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/energy-and-environment/african-penguins-under-threat-from-tourists/article30691739.ece

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