List of Penguin Species
By Nick Askew
The list of penguins (order Sphenisciformes, family Spheniscidae) includes aquatic, flightless birds living almost exclusively in the southern hemisphere, especially in Antarctica. Highly adapted for life in the water, members of the penguin familiy have countershaded dark and white plumage, and their wings have become flippers.
Most penguins feed on krill, fish, squid, and other forms of sealife caught while swimming underwater. They spend about half of their life on land and half in the oceans. Although all penguin species are native to the southern hemisphere, they are not found only in cold climates, such as Antarctica. In fact, only a few species of penguin live so far south. Several species are found in the temperate zone, and one species, the Galápagos Penguin, lives near the equator.
Thousands of marine mammals, seabirds, sea turtles, sharks, and rays are killed in fishing gear every year in European waters. This bycatch is one of the main causes of the declines seen in many of these species’ population. But marine species are not the only ones to suffer. For fishers, bycatch means damaged equipment, lost bait, lost fish, and precious time wasted removing bycaught animals from nets, lines, and hooks.
As with many of the world’s albatross species, bycatch from fisheries is a major threat to Wandering Albatrosses. A new study led by BirdLife and the British Antarctic Survey, in collaboration with Global Fishing Watch, revealed that over half of Wandering Albatrosses that breed on Bird Island, South Georgia, come into contact with fishing vessels from multiple fishing nations. Bycatch risk was highest along the Patagonian Shelf break, highlighting the critical need for conservationists to work with multiple fleets to implement best-practice mitigation measures in the region.
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