Penguin

Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images

Penguins under threat
A penguin sticks its head out of the water on May 16 during a preview event for the opening of the new June Keys Penguin Habitat at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, Calif.

 

These flightless birds are a near-threatened species that originated in the cool climate of South America's Strait of Magellan. Although penguins have existed on our planet for more than 50 million years, environmental issues caused by commercial fishing and tourism are threatening their future survival. Over the course of the 1980s, 40,000 oil-coated Magellanic penguins washed up on the shore of the Chubut Coast every year as the result of illegal dumping of petroleom-contaminated ship ballast water into the ocean.

 


* * * 
 

Two penguins

Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images

Playing with penguins

A young boy watches a pair of rescued penguins inside a tank on May 16 at the new June Keys Penguin Habiatat at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, Calif. You can also watch video of the penguins as they get used to their habitat.

 

In addition to commercial fishing, unregulated tourism and recreational activities put additional strains on the breeding habits of Magellanic penguins on the beaches of the Patagonian mainland.

 

* * * 
 

Also on MNN: