Galapagos Penguin

Spheniscus Mendiculus

Current Status

The Galapagos Penguin is currently endangered, with a population of below 2000 penguins. Out of these 2000, only about 1000 are able to breed.


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Habitat

The Galapagos Penguin currently is an endemic to the Galapagos Islands, mainly occupying the Fernandina Island. They are the only species of penguins who live north of the equator in the wild.

Description

They are the second smallest species of penguins, weighing only 5.5 pounds on average. Also they are 19 inches long from head to toes.

Importance/Niche

The Galapagos penguin is more important to humans than one might think. They bring large amounts of tourism to the Galapagos islands as everyone wants to see the northern most penguins. They also control the krill populations that is important to the food chain. The Galapagos Penguins niche is that it is more of a secondary consumer that feeds on small fish and small crustaceans such as Krill. They control the krill and small fish population. Also, once they reach maturity level, they breed two eggs a year with one making it out usually. This provides food for local predators such as Sharks, Seals, Galapagos Hawks, and cats.

Reasons why endangered

This species is endangered because of the El Niños that warm their waters and make it difficult for them to breed as it lowers their food population. Fishing nets and the invasive cat species have also been hunting them recently. Also some anthropogenic factors are furthering their endangerment such as oil spills.

Support Given

Every Galapagos penguin lives in Marine reserves and national parks, which allows scientists to monitor and control their population every year. The islands are also discouraging the use of fishing nets in sensitive areas, preventing coastal development near their habitats, implementing greater regulations on invasive predators coming in, and are providing nest boxes in predator free zones for further research.

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6 Degrees of Seperation

I feel like seafood for dinner. I go to Red Lobster. I ate the Red Lobster seafood. Red Lobster buys more seafood from the Galapagos to supplement my needs. The fishing nets that caught the seafood in the Galapagos also killed a few Galapagos penguins and reduced their seafood population. The penguins died and lost more food.

By Dante Macean and Zack Gersowsky