As the only species of penguin to originate in Africa, populations of the species have declined by 95% since pre-industrial times, with numbers that continue to plummet. Climate change and fishing are among the greatest threats to the approximately 80,000 that remain. Also known as the Black-footed penguin, this species' vulnerability was placed in further jeopardy by a massive oil spill in the year 2000.
A swift outpouring of international help at that time was credited with saving nearly 40,000 birds that were either rescued from oil contamination or evacuated to safety. However, the Black-footed penguin's numbers have continued to go down, and biologists at the California Academy of Sciences in the USA are now coordinating with zoos throughout North America to maintain populations there, in the hope of re-introducing them to the wild once their natural habitat stabilizes.
Speaking of the need to address both global warming and fishing practices, biologist Brooke Weinstein of the California Academy of Sciences stated, “I don't think it is too late, but I do think it's really imperative that people make the kind of changes that we need to make, because no one wants a world without penguins.”
Our thanks, Ms. Weinstein, California Academy of Sciences, and all who are working with love and dedication to save the South African penguin. Let us all join by choosing the life-saving plant-based diet, which lightens the human footprint on our planet and allows other species to thrive.
With deep concern for the plight of our animal co-inhabitants, Supreme Master Ching Hai during an August 2009 videoconference in Thailand urged humanity, as on many previous occasions, toward greater consideration to ensure the welfare of all beings on Earth.