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Pink face, black foot... by Gili Orr

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“Pink face, black foot…” was featured in the groups
Penguins Galore (twice)
Extreme Close-Ups and
Around The World (13 December 2009)

284 views (11 December 2009)

Photo taken in Avifauna, Alphen a/d Rijn, The Netherlands. Avifauna takes part in the European breeding program, set to ensure the survival of the Black-footed penguins.

Canon PowerShot S5 ISExposure time 1/500 sF-number f/3.5ISO speed ratings ISO 160Date/time original 30-8-2008 15:37:33Focal length 46.3 mmFlash mode Flash not firedContinuous drive mode ContinuousWhite balance Sunny

The African Penguin (Spheniscus demersus), also known as the Black-footed Penguin (and formerly as the Jackass Penguin), is found on the south-western coast of Africa, living in colonies on 24 islands between Namibia and Algoa Bay, near Port Elizabeth, South Africa, with the largest colony on Dyer Island, near Kleinbaai. Two colonies were established by penguins in the 1980s on the mainland near Cape Town at Boulders Beach near Simon’s Town and Stony Point in Betty’s Bay. Mainland colonies probably only became possible in recent times due to the reduction of predator numbers, although the Betty’s Bay colony has been attacked by leopards. The only other mainland colony is in Namibia, but it is not known when this was established.

Of the 1.5-million African Penguin population estimated in 1910, only some 10% remained at the end of the 20th century. The uncontrolled harvesting of penguin eggs as a source of food, disruption of habitat by guano scraping, nearly drove the species to extinction.

As recently as the mid-twentieth century, penguin eggs were considered a delicacy and were still being collected for sale. Unfortunately, the practice was to smash eggs found a few days prior to gathering, in order to ensure that only fresh ones were sold. This added to the drastic decline of the penguin population around the Cape coast, a decline which was hastened by the removal of guano from islands for use as fertilizer, eliminating the burrowing material used by penguins. Penguins remain susceptible to pollution of their habitat by petrochemicals from spills, shipwrecks and cleaning of tankers while at sea.

Disaster struck on June 23, 2000, when the iron ore tanker MV Treasure sank between Robben Island and Dassen Island, South Africa, oiling 19 000 adult penguins at the height of the best breeding season on record for this vulnerable species. The oiled birds were brought to an abandoned train repair warehouse in Cape Town to be cared for. An additional 19,500 un-oiled penguins were removed from Dassen Island and other areas before they became oiled, and were released about a thousand kilometres east of Cape Town, near Port Elizabeth. This gave workers enough time to clean up the oiled waters and shores before the birds could complete their long swim home (which took the penguins between 2 and 3 weeks). Some of the penguins were named and radio-tracked as they swam back to their breeding grounds. Tens of thousands of volunteers descended upon Cape Town to help with the rescue and rehabilitation process, which was overseen by IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare) and the South African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB), and took more than three months to complete. Although this was the largest animal rescue event in history, more than 91% of the penguins were successfully rehabilitated and released – an amazing feat that could not have been accomplished without such a tremendous international response.

The African Penguin is one of the species to which the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) applies. The African Penguin is listed in the Red Data Book as a vulnerable species.



  • Valerie Anne Kelly
    Valerie Anne K...over 6 years ago

    Oh watta stunning shot never seen this bird b4 lol ;} hugzz

  • A strange looking penguin, eh? Not so many of them left…

    – Gili Orr

  • RoxyLust
    RoxyLustover 6 years ago

    wow kool u learn somit new everyday :) xxx

  • ;-) Just looking for info about your own photos can give you a whole lot of learning… Thanks for your visit, Roxy!

    – Gili Orr

  • RoxyLust
    RoxyLustover 6 years ago

    i think ill take a leaf out ur book and try that myself :) i love learnin new stuff xx

  • Yool
    Yoolover 6 years ago

    Stunning macro Gili ….pretty bird!!!

  • Thanks, Yool! Not sure about pretty, though ;-)

    – Gili Orr

  • helene ruiz
    helene ruizover 6 years ago

    what a beautiful shot

  • Thank you, Helene!

    – Gili Orr

  • navybrat
    navybratover 6 years ago

    wow gili!! great shot!!

  • Thanks for the wow, Jotham ;-)

    – Gili Orr

  • Nala
    Nalaover 6 years ago

    Thats fantastic and if a look could kill i think that one could lol love it

  • Think so? ;-) Not sure what this bird was thinking, I guess your interpretation is not totally impossible…

    – Gili Orr

  • Nala
    Nalaover 6 years ago

    He would have been looking at the lens seeing him and thinking i will have you lol

  • Sensiworld
    Sensiworldover 6 years ago

    Great shot Gili !!
    I missed this one earlier on I think.
    What an amazing animal.

  • Thanks, Sylvia! Yes, amazing indeed…

    – Gili Orr

  • melant1017
    melant1017over 6 years ago

    Great close-up, I like it :)

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