Weekly Press Review – 9 September 2016

The declining numbers of the African penguin have once again made headlines. According to the press, the hardest hit seem to be the young penguins on the west coast where declining fish stocks have resulted in severe food shortages for the penguins in the area.

Since 2004 penguin numbers in the area have declined by a staggering 90 percent says Dr Richard Sherley of the University of Exeter.   Over the last three years Sherley and a group of researchers have been working on a research project focusing on the eating patterns of the African penguin.

Most penguins used the west and south coasts as their main feeding ground, but there is simply no longer food available for these young birds along that particular stretch of coastline.

“Historically this area was full of fish, so one can understand why they moved to this region, but they have been unable to adapt to the changes,” said Sherley.

Unless drastic changes are made to fishing methods in the area, and all along the South African coast, the African penguin population is simply not sustainable.

South African Paralympic swimmer Achmat Hassiem has made headlines this week saying that he is so grateful to the great white shark that bit off half his right leg, adding that he is prepared to devote the rest of his life to protecting these endangered animals.

“I was recently made a global marine guardian by the UN. My forte is sharks – who better to protect them than me? The shark has given me so many opportunities, opportunities to represent my country, to change the world.

“I have become a shark advocate because it is my way of thanking her for giving me everything I have achieved today and it is my way of thinking I am a hero of the world, hence the nickname, Shark Boy,” said Hassiem.

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