African penguins face extinction within the next 15 years according to campaigners. Warning people of the effects of factory farming this World Penguin Day, Compassion in World Farming are raising awareness of the issues effecting penguins, specifically in Africa.
Penguins’ primary food source is small fish, which is being taken from the oceans on a massive scale and ground into ‘fishmeal’, with one fifth of all marine fish caught globally used for this purpose. This fishmeal is used to feed pigs, chickens and farmed salmon. There are now only 50,000 African penguins left in the wild, and experts in South Africa believe that within 15 years they could be extinct.
Compassion in World Farming has launched a new video to coincide with World Penguin Day about the difficulties faced by African penguins, which you can watch below. Philip Lymbery, CIWF’s CEO and author of new book Dead Zone: Where the Wild Things Were, said: “We must fix our broken food systems to end this senseless destruction and build a more sustainable future, before it’s too late.
“Penguins are one of the most popular species on our planet and we’re in serious danger of losing them unless we act now. If we continue to plunder small fish to turn into fishmeal for factory farmed animals we risk them disappearing forever.
“In the last 40 years, the total number of wild mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish worldwide has halved. It’s a shocking statistic and even more shocking to realise that it’s the food on our plate that is responsible for two-thirds of this wildlife loss.
“Demand for cheap meat is driving this problem so we can all make a difference three times a day by choosing to eat less and better meat such as pasture-fed, free- range and organic.”
Dr Lorien Pichegru, a leading marine biologist at the Institute of African Ornithology is concerned that the African penguin will suffer the same fate as the dodo, as they are now listed on the IUCN Rd List of Threatened Species as an endangered animal.
Experts believe that the breeding population has experienced a 95 per cent decline in breeding pairs from 69,000 in 2001 to 20,000 in 2011. As a result, it has been projected that within 15 years the species could be extinct.