News / Science & Technology

Penguin Sanctuary Plan Would Double World's Protected Oceans

Penguins a Barometer for Ocean Healthi
X
June 06, 2014 8:34 PM
The world’s oceans are under assault. The increasing concentration of global carbon emissions is making waters warmer and more acidic, which is harming coral reefs, home to about one-third of everything that lives in the sea. One barometer of ocean health is the penguin, whose Southern Hemisphere range extends from the tropical Galapagos Islands near the equator to the ice shelf of Antarctica. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports on their struggle for survival in the face of numerous threats.
Rosanne Skirble
About 75 percent of all penguins are threatened and a campaign to double the area of protected reserves is being considered by an international commission.

Penguins are aquatic birds. They do not fly. Instead, they soar through the ocean. Penguins are especially adapted to life in the water, and are affected by everything in it.

They suffer from pollution and overfishing, which limits their food source. They are in danger from shipping traffic and oil spills.
 
Penguin Sanctuary Plan Would Double World's Protected Oceans
Penguin Sanctuary Plan Would Double World's Protected Oceans i
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X

Sharp decline

Vanessa Strauss, who heads a high-tech tracking and monitoring program at the South African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds in Cape Town, South Africa, says accidents there have accelerated the birds' sharp decline.

“We know that some animals oiled at sea never make it to land," Strauss said. "So, it’s really difficult to quantify the impact of chronic oil pollution over the long term. We cannot only look at the number of birds affected by oil to quantify the impact, but we do know from research that many birds do die out at sea.”    
 
  • Chinstrap penguin prancing on Prasiola crispa, a terrestrial green algae. (Ron Naveen/ OCEANITES)
  • Adélie penguin wing spread. (Ron Naveen/ OCEANITES)
  • Nesting Adélie penguins, Admiralty Bay. (Ron Naveen/ OCEANITES)
  • Penguin swimming, Antarctica. (John B. Weller)
  • Gentoo penguin headshot. (Ron Naveen/ OCEANITES)
  • Close up of fish below the Ross Sea. (John B. Weller, Courtesy of The Pew Charitable Trusts)
  • Close-up of krill. (Photo credit: grandfathered)
  • Below the Ross Sea. (John B. Weller)
  • Avalanche in the Lemaire Channel. (Ron Naveen/ OCEANITES)
  • Pods of killer whales, sometimes 100 strong, patrol the ice edges. Three separate ecotypes live in the Ross Sea, each specializing in a different diet. (John B. Weller)

Climate change puts all penguin populations at risk, says Andrea Kavanagh, director of Global Penguin Conservation for the PEW Charitable Trusts.  

“Global warming is a problem because it shifts where their normal food supplies are, either farther away from them so they have to swim farther and farther away to get the food," Kavanagh said. "And when penguins are nesting and trying to protect their chicks, that’s especially a big problem for them, because the longer they have to leave their chicks, the more open to starvation and predation their chicks are."    

Marine reserves

Two-thirds of the global penguin population is endangered, according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

Eight of 18 species worldwide live in Antarctica. The continent, one of the last wild frontiers, is home to 10,000 species, including seabirds, seals and whales.

Kavanagh says PEW and partner groups are backing a plan to create two large marine reserves, which would set aside nearly 3 million square kilometers (1.16 million miles)  in the Ross Sea and East Antarctica, more than a third of which would be a strict no-fishing area.

Marine reserves would help penguins by moving fisheries away from where the penguins forage for food, Kavanagh said. "And so it would give them a little bit more security when it comes to their food source in the face of a changing climate. The other thing that it would do is that it would take a big fishery that is happening, the krill fishery, and move that farther away from their foraging grounds.”  

Negotiating fate of reserves

The tiny, shrimp-like krill are a staple of the penguin diet. But they are being harvested for fish feed and vitamin supplements.

A commission created under the Antarctic Treaty, which governs the continent, is currently negotiating the fate of the reserves.

The 24-member states and European Union countries must come to a consensus. Kavanagh says every nation is on board except Russia, which has been reluctant to give up fishing in the proposed area.

“The last couple of years, we have been working with our Russian colleagues and with all of the other member governments to try to understand their problems and see if we can work through them so that this year, this October, we can have these marine reserves firmly established,” Kavanagh said.

The meeting will be held in Tasmania, where the commission is based. The reserves would double the area of ocean worldwide that is fully protected.

You May Like

UN Fears Rights Violations in China-backed Projects

UNHCHR investigates link between financing development and ignoring safeguards for human rights More

Boko Haram Violence Tests Nigerians’ Faith in Buhari

New president has promised to stem insurgency; he’s scheduled to meet with President Obama at White House July 20 More

Social Media Network Wants Privacy in User’s Hands

Encryption's popularity in messaging is exploding; now it's the foundation of a new social network More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugeesi
X
Carolyn Weaver
July 06, 2015 6:47 PM
In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.

VOA Blogs