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Penguin Conservation Assessment and Management Plan (PENGUIN CAMP)

African Penguin Spheniscus demersus

STATUS: New UCN Category: Vulnerable
Based on: A1a, A2b, E
CITES: Appendix II
OTHER: In South Africa, endangered in terms of the Nature and Environmental Conservation Ordinance, No. 19 of 1974 of the Province of the Cape of Good Hope. This now applies to the Northern Cape, Western Cape and Eastern Cape Provinces. In Namibia, there is no official legal status. Listed as Near Threatened in Birds to Watch 2 (Collar et al. 1994). Listed as Vulnerable in the Red Data Book for South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland (Crawford 2000). Listed in Appendix II of the Convention for the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (Bonn Convention).

Taxonomic status: Species.

Current distribution (breeding and wintering):

Breeding distribution: Between Hollams Bird Island, Namibia and Bird Island, Algoa Bay, South Africa.

Number of locations: 27 extant breeding colonies - eight islands and one mainland site along the coast of southern Namibia; 10 islands and two mainland sites along the coast of Western Cape Province, South Africa; six islands in Algoa Bay, Eastern Cape Province, South Africa (Crawford et al. 1995a). There is no breeding along the coast of South Africa's Northern Cape Province, which lies between Namibia and Western Cape Province.

Concentrated Migration Regions: None. Juveniles tend to disperse along the coastline to the west and north (Randall et al. 1987).

Historical Distribution: Breeding no longer occurs at nine localities where it formerly occurred or has been suspected to occur (Crawford et al. 1995b) - Neglectus, Seal, Penguin, North Long, North Reef and Albatross Islands in Namibia; Jacobs Reef, Quoin and Seal (Mossel Bay) Islands in South Africa. In the 1980s, breeding started at two mainland sites in South Africa (Boulders, Stony Point) for which no earlier records of breeding exist.

Area occupied: Throughout breeding range and farther to the north and east. Rare off KwaZulu-Natal (Cyrus and Robson 1980; Wilkinson et al. 1999). Vagrants have occurred north to Sette Cama (2 32 S), Gabon, on Africa's west coast and to Inhaca Island (26 58 S) and the Limpopo River mouth (24 45 S), Mozambique, on the east coast (Shelton et al. 1984; Parker 1999). In coastal waters, usually within 12 km of the shore. Birds feeding chicks forage within 20-46 km of the colony (Wilson 1985; Randall 1989), mostly within 3 km of the coast (Berruti et al. 1989). Adults generally remain within 400 km of their breeding locality, but juveniles regularly move in excess of 1000 km from their natal island (Randall 1989).

Extent of occurrence: About 25 000 km2, category D (> 20000 km2).

Population Trends: % Change in Years: There were an estimated 222 000 adults (birds in adult plumage) in the late 1970s 194 000 in the late 1980s and 179 000 in the early 1990s (Crawford et al. 1995a). This gives a mean annual rate of decrease between the late 1970s and the early 1990s of 1.3 %, and between the late 1980s and the early 1990s of 1.5%.

% Change in Generations: Adult survival is estimated to be about 0.90 p.a. (Randall 1983, Crawford et al. 1999). Therefore, average life expectancy of breeders is 6.6 years. Mean age at breeding is about four years (Randall 1983, Crawford et al. 1999). This gives an average age of breeders of 10-11 years. Birds have been known to live to more than 24 years in the wild (Whittington et al. 2000). The overall decrease in breeders between the late 1970s and early 1990s, i.e. about 15 years or 1.5 generations, was 19.4% (Crawford et al. 1995a). Therefore, the mean recent decrease per generation is 12.9%

Trend over past 100 years: In 1910, there were probably 1.4 million adult birds at Dassen Island (Shannon and Crawford 1999). In the mid 1950s, the overall African Penguin population was estimated to be about 300 000 adults (Rand 1963a, b). This included 145 000 at Dassen Island, which may have underestimated the population there by as much as 70 000 (Shannon and Crawford 1999). By the early 1990s, the World's wild population had decreased to about 180 000 adults.

World population: In 1991-1994, the World's wild population was estimated to be 56 000 breeding pairs representing 179 000 adults (Crawford et al. 1995a). The number of adults was estimated from the ratio between birds in adult plumage and breeding pairs at Robben Island.

Regional populations: There has been regional variation in trends in the abundance of African Penguins (Crawford et al. 1990,1995a). In Namibia, there has been a 30% reduction since the late 1970s, the most severe declines being south of Lüderitz, where colonies continue to decrease. Populations at Mercury, Ichaboe and Halifax Islands now appear to be stable. In South Africa, numbers fell by 17% between the late 1970s and early 1990s, with especially severe decreases near Saldanha Bay and at Dassen and Dyer Islands. These decreases have been arrested, except at Dyer Island. Three new colonies were established in the Western Cape Province in the early 1980s, and now support about 10 000 adult birds. At islands in Algoa Bay, the estimated number of adults increased by nearly 30 000 between the late 1970s and the early 1990s, with large increases at St Croix and Bird Islands.

Data Quality: 1 (Reliable census/population monitoring data) The estimated numbers of breeding pairs and adults at localities in 1991-1994 are listed in the following table (Crawford et al. 1995a):

Locality Pairs Adults
Hollams Bird Island 1 3
Sylvia Hill 26 83
Mercury Island 3659 11709
Ichaboe Island 2858 9146
Halifax Island 981 3139
Possession Island 8 26
Plumpudding Island 26 83
Sinclair Island 63 202
Namibia 8373 26794
Bird Island, Lambert's Bay 25 80
Malgas Island 99 317
Marcus Island 207 662
Jutten Island 1349 4317
Vondeling Island 229 733
Dassen Island 9389 30045
Robben Island 2799 8957
Boulders 359 1149
Seal Island, False Bay 95 304
Stony Point 77 246
Dyer Island 8349 26717
Geyser Island 328 1050
Western Cape Province, South Africa 23305 74577
Jahleel Island 549 1757
Brenton Island 31 99
St Croix Island 19478 62330
Seal Island, Algoa Bay 375 1200
Stag Island 24 77
Bird Island, Algoa Bay 3784 12019
Eastern Cape Province, South Africa 24241 77572
South Africa 47546 152149
WORLD 55919 178943

Recent Field Studies: Breeding cycle: Off southern South Africa the main breeding season is January to September; most birds moult between October and January (Randall 1989; Crawford et al. 1995c). The annual cycle farther north lags this by a few months (Crawford et al. 1995a).

Population surveys: Namibia's Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources (MFMR) counts annually the number of breeding pairs at Mercury, Ichaboe and Possession Islands. In South Africa, Marine and Coastal Management (MCM), Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (formerly the Sea Fisheries Research Institute (SFRI)) monitors the number of breeding pairs at 11 localities (all except Stony Point) in South Africa's Western Cape Province. Breeding pairs at Stony Point are counted by a committee of the local municipality. Port Elizabeth Museum (PEM) counts breeding pairs at Bird Island, Algoa Bay. Other breeding localities are surveyed less frequently by MFMR, MCM and PEM.

Counts of moulting birds are undertaken at two-weekly intervals by MFMR at Mercury, Ichaboe, Halifax and Possession Islands, Cape Nature Conservation (CNC) at Dassen Island, MCM at Robben Island, and nature conservation authorities of Eastern Cape Province at Bird Island, Algoa Bay. Counts during the peak moult are also made at Boulders by MCM and at St Croix Island by PEM.

The relationship between counts of breeding birds and counts of moulting birds, that will enable the adult population to be estimated from counts of breeding birds, is being investigated for Algoa Bay by PEM.

Population parameters: Demographic parameters of African Penguins have been measured at Robben Island (Crawford et al. 1999). Adult survival was between 0.82 and 0.90 in 1993/94, but fell to 0.75 in 1994/95 when many birds at the island were oiled following the sinking of the Apollo Sea in June 1994. Some penguins initiated breeding when two years old, and all probably bred at age five. The proportion of mature birds that bred in a year varied between about 0.70 and 1.00. During the breeding season, pairs laid their first clutch between January and August, mostly in February and March. The average clutch was 1.86 eggs. Of lost clutches 32% were replaced, whereas 23% of pairs losing broods relayed and 21% of pairs that successfully fledged chicks relayed. On only one occasion was the laying of a third clutch during a breeding season recorded, and this was unsuccessful. The mean number of chicks fledged per breeding pair varied between 0.32 and 0.59 per annum.

Success of rehabilitation efforts: The return to islands and breeding success of penguins rehabilitated after being oiled following sinking of the Apollo Sea has been monitored by the ADU, MCM and CNC (Underhill et al. 1999). Of penguins flipper banded after rehabilitation, 65% had been seen at islands within two years of their release. At Dassen Island, there were some seasonal differences in the breeding success of rehabilitated birds and birds not affected by oil (Nel and Williams submitted). Moulting and breeding cycles were affected.

Diet: The diet of African Penguins is monitored by SFRI at three islands - Dassen, Robben and Dyer (Crawford and Dyer 1995). Anchovy Engraulis capensis is the main prey item at Robben Island (Crawford et al. 1995c). At Dyer Island there has been a trend to replacement of Anchovy by Sardine, Sardinops sagax (Adams et al. submitted).

Foraging range: The foraging range of breeding penguins at different localities is being investigated using transmitters to satellites. An adult rearing chicks at Dassen Island moved as far as Boulders and Marcus Island, but normally foraged closer to Dassen Island.


Heat: African Penguins are subject to heat stress (Randall 1983). In hot, humid, cloudless and windless conditions, parents abandon clutches and broods for the sea to cool and prevent further dehydration. Losses to Kelp Gulls Larus dominicanus and other predators of eggs and chicks then frequently occur. African Penguins apparently reduce heat stress by breeding in shade, e.g. under bushes and in burrows. However, as a consequence of removal of accumulated deposits of guano, in which burrows can be excavated, penguins have been forced to nest on the surface at many localities, increasing their susceptibility to heat stress.

Rain: Heavy rain may result in flooding of nests, drowning of small chicks and losses of older chicks to hypothermia (Randall et al. 1986).

There has been a change in the center of distribution of the breeding population of African Penguins. Much of the breeding population is now in Algoa Bay, where conditions are warmer than elsewhere, both on land and at sea.

Should ambient temperatures increase as a result of global warming, increased desertions of nests and decreased reproductive success can be anticipated. Should rainfall increase, greater flooding of nests will occur.

This section deals with parasites and disease in the wild and in captivity. Most of the information arises from studies of captive populations and birds in rehabilitation centers. The possibility exists that diseases contracted by rehabilitated birds can be passed to wild populations.

Endoparasites: Various worms occur in the gastro-intestinal (GI) tract, and some in the kidneys and lungs. Most can be treated with standard anti-worm medication. Cerebral symptoms may be seen with GI worms, whose eggs may be encysted in any part of the body, or endoparasites that lodge in liver, spleen, brain, lungs etc.

Strigeid digenian trematodes Cardiocephaloides physalis were responsible for large numbers of chick mortalities at St Croix Island in July 1981 (Randall and Bray 1983).

Ectoparasites: Lice, ticks and fleas are common, but not usually a problem.

Aspergillosis: A fungus that affects the lungs, particularly if penguins are stressed or overcrowded. Treatment is expensive and labor-intensive, involving nebulization (prophylaxis) and injections of Amphotericin-B. Oral itroconazole is favored by many as an effective and simple treatment (R. Norman pers comm.).

Bumblefoot: May be caused by Staphylococcus bacteria, but always associated with damp floors. Treatment difficult, but a dry environment will avoid it.

Haematozoa: The most important is avian malaria Plasmodium relictum. Mortality is high, but, if diagnosed, birds can be treated with Chloroquin plus Doxycycline or Proguanil. The latter can be suspended in Keltrod, a mix of Hydroxy-benzoates, which makes it easier to administer. All penguins should be given prophylaxis during their stay in rescue stations, especially in summer, but controlled scientific assessment of the best drug and dose has not been done in South Africa.

Leucocytozoon (commonly present in many flying birds) occasionally affects penguins. Possibly responds to Chloroquine.

Babesiosis is endemic in African Penguins and has been reported elsewhere. Probably causes no symptoms, except under stress conditions.

Newcastle Disease: A virus with very high mortality and very contagious. A vaccine can be prepared, but its efficacy is unknown.

Avian cholera: Avian cholera Pasturella multocida has killed penguins at Dassen Island (Crawford et al. 1992a).

Infections: Pneumonia (viral or coccal) is common. Usually treated with amoxycillin.

Steps need to be implemented to minimize the risk of rehabilitated penguins returning disease to wild colonies.

FISHING: Commercial purse-seine fisheries off South Africa and Namibia catch large quantities of Sardine and Anchovy, which are important prey items for African Penguins (Frost et al. 1976). Sardine stocks off South Africa and Namibia collapsed in the 1960s, respectively contracting to the southeast and north as they did so. A consequent reduced availability of prey was probably the main reason for the large decrease in numbers of penguins between Lüderitz and Dassen Island (Crawford et al. 1990). The decrease in number of penguins at Possession Island, southern Namibia, from 23 000 pairs in 1956 to fewer than 500 pairs in 1987 was exponential, with decay equivalent to the natural mortality rate of adults. Recruitment to the colony in this period appears to have been minimal (Cordes et al. 1999).

At Robben Island between 1989 and 1995, African Penguins fed mainly on Anchovy. The number of chicks fledged per breeding pair was significantly related to estimates of spawner biomass for the South African Anchovy resource (Crawford and Dyer 1995, Crawford et al. 1999). Numbers of immature birds immigrating to the colony were also significantly related to Anchovy biomass. The proportion of adults breeding in any year at Robben Island was related to the biomass of the South African stock of Sardine.

Development of a purse-seine fishery in Algoa Bay may decrease availability of prey fish to the large African Penguin population there.

Limited mortality results from entanglement of penguins in fishing nets (Cooper 1974, R.M. Randall, D.C. Nel unpublished). There is potential for this to increase if gill nets are set in proximity to breeding colonies. In South Africa, gill nets are only used in small fisheries for mullets and sharks.

COMPETITION WITH OTHER PREDATORS FOR FOOD: In addition to fishing, greatly expanded herds of Cape Fur Seals Arctocephalus pusillus have decreased availability of food to African Penguins (Crawford et al. 1992b).

HUNTING FOR FOOD OR OTHER PURPOSES: Collection of penguin eggs was primarily responsible for the very large decrease in numbers of African Penguins at Dassen Island between 1910 and 1956. It is estimated that in the first half of the 20th century 48% of eggs produced at Dassen Island were harvested (Shannon and Crawford 1999). The last sanctioned egg collections were in 1967.

There are unconfirmed reports of penguins being killed as use for bait in rock-lobster traps. Apparently they are attractive as bait because their flesh and skin is relatively tough compared to that of fish and other baits. The extent of this practice is unknown. Most reports emanate from the Namibian islands.

HUMAN INTERFERENCE OR DISTURBANCE: Exploitation and disturbance by humans is the probable reason for penguins stopping breeding at four colonies, one of which has since been recolonized (Crawford et al. 1995b). At other localities, egg collecting caused large decreases, especially at Dassen Island and in Algoa Bay. Historically, guano collection has been a major cause of disturbance at many colonies.

Disturbance may also arise from tourism, mining, management and research actions, and other activities at breeding localities, such as maintenance, angling and swimming. Disturbance is most damaging during breeding, at times causing panic and desertions of nest sites with losses of eggs and small chicks to Kelp Gulls. Young birds may also be deterred from breeding (Hockey and Hallinan 1981). Where there are burrows, humans moving about may cause burrows to collapse, thereby destroying breeding habitat and sometimes causing mortality.

Modeling has shown that regular searches for oiled birds have potential to severely depress populations if not properly controlled (Shannon and Crawford 1999). At some localities (e.g. Boulders) African Penguins show remarkable tolerance of humans, whereas at others (e.g. Seal in Algoa Bay) they are readily disturbed. Some of the human residents adjoining the colony at Boulders do not show the same tolerance to penguins. They seek a reduction in the number of penguins at the colony.

LOSS OF HABITAT: Competition for breeding space: Competition with Cape Fur Seals for breeding space is the probable reason for cessation of breeding at five former breeding colonies (Crawford et al. 1995b). Expanding seal herds have displaced large numbers of penguins at other breeding localities, including Hollams Bird, Mercury and Sinclair Islands (Rand 1952, Shaughnessy 1980, Crawford et al. 1989). Displacement of penguins by seals has recently been countered to some extent by a policy of seal-scaring and placement of artificial shelters at breeding colonies (Crawford et al. 1994). African Penguins compete with other seabirds for breeding space. At Bird Island in Algoa Bay, they were displaced from a portion of prime breeding habitat by Cape Gannets Morus capensis (R.M. Randall unpublished). The projected rise in sea level may further reduce breeding habitat of African Penguins.

MARINE PERTURBATIONS, INCLUDING ENSO AND OTHER SHIFTS: In addition to fishing, environmental change is thought to have influenced alternating regimes of high and low abundance of Sardine and Anchovy worldwide, including the Benguela system (Lluch-Belda et al. 1989, 1992). Long-term trends of African Penguin populations in the Benguela system may to some extent be linked to regimes of Sardine and Anchovy. For example, the decreasing numbers of penguins at Dyer Island since the mid 1980s have matched a decreasing trend in the biomass of the South African Anchovy stock (Adams et al. submitted). In the same period, the stabilization or increase of colonies between Stony Point and Lambert's Bay has corresponded with an increasing trend in the South African Sardine stock.

These trends are the opposite of trends that followed the collapse of Sardine and rise of Anchovy off South Africa in the 1960s (Crawford et al. 1990).

Sharks: Detailed examination of injuries sustained by penguins at St Croix Island indicated they were inflicted by Great White Sharks Carcharadon carcharias (Randall et al. 1988). At St Croix Island, these injuries were second only to oil pollution as a cause of mortality of penguins (Randall et al. 1988, R.M. Randall unpublished). Cooper (1974) attributed injuries observed at Dassen Island to sharks.

Seals: There are many accounts of Cape Fur Seals killing penguins (Cooper 1974, Broni 1984, Rebello 1984). This phenomenon has been recorded at Ichaboe, Halifax, Possession, Malgas, Dassen and Dyer Islands. The phenomenon is thought to be regional and periodic in occurrence. Mortality may be high - at least 25 penguins were killed on one day at Dassen Island (Cooper 1974).

Killer Whales: There are isolated records of Killer Whales Orcinus orca preying on African Penguins (Rice and Saayman 1987, Williams et al. 1990). Their influence is likely to be minor, because they are uncommon in southern African inshore areas (Ross 1989).

Kelp Gulls and Sacred Ibis: Kelp Gulls prey on eggs and chicks (Cooper 1974). Most of their takings constitute scavenging, such as deserted clutches, infertile eggs and dying chicks. They have learnt to capitalize on disturbance, preying on eggs and chicks that are temporarily exposed when parent birds take fright at human activities. The desirability of controlling Kelp Gulls at particular localities needs investigation. Sacred Ibis Threskiornis aethiopicus also have potential to scavenge eggs and small chicks. Mole Snakes: At Robben Island,

Mole Snakes Pseudapsis cana eat penguin eggs (Crawford et al. 1995c). If this predator attains high levels of abundance, the desirability of control should be researched.

Feral Cats: Feral Cats Felis catus prey on eggs or chicks of penguins at Dassen and Robben Islands (Berruti 1986, Crawford et al. 1995c) and probably also at Bird Island, Lambert's Bay, Boulders and Stony Point. Control programs are underway at Dassen and Robben Islands and are successful in maintaining cat populations at moderately low levels. Ideally cats should be eliminated at these islands.

Other mainland terrestrial predators: Various small predators prey on young stages of penguins at mainland localities and at the two islands (Bird at Lambert's Bay and Marcus) now joined to the mainland. Leopards Panthera pardus have eaten adult penguins at Stony Point (Crawford et al. 1995a). At this locality, predation is thought to have caused a decreasing trend. Some small predators have been trapped and released elsewhere. Black rats Rattus rattus occur at Marcus Island (R.M. Randall unpublished) and probably other localities linked to the mainland. They are potential predators of eggs.

Oil: Oil spills have major impact on African Penguins, especially when the oil washes ashore at breeding localities (Morant et al. 1981, Adams 1994, Underhill et al. 1999). Oil kills penguins by impairing the insulative capacity of their feathers, so that they die of hypothermia in water (Erasmus et al. 1981) or of starvation on land because hypothermia makes it impossible for them to feed at sea. Ingested oil may produce a range of physiological abnormalities and is associated with a greater diversity of potentially pathogenic bacteria (Kerley and Erasmus 1987).

Catastrophic oil spills occur irregularly, but there is persistent chronic oiling. Of 689 dead penguins found at St Croix Island over a 10-year period, oil pollution accounted for more deaths (44%) than any other factor (R.M. Randall unpublished). Cleaning oiled penguins has been undertaken with considerable success, notably by the Southern African National Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB) - (Underhill et al. 1999, Nel and Williams submitted). Development of a proposed harbor near to St Croix Island, will place this large colony at increased risk of pollution.

Chemicals: Residues of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and the organochlorine pesticides DDE and Dieldrin have been found in penguin eggs (Van Dyk et al. 1982, De Kock and Randall 1984). In all cases the residue levels were low and unlikely to cause reproductive impairment.

Fire: At Robben Island and Boulders, the two new colonies where African Penguins breed under wooded vegetation, fire could cause extensive loss of breeding habitat and mortality of birds, eggs and chicks. The risk of fire should be minimized by clearing old wood.

Comments: Classification of the African Penguin as "Vulnerable" according to IUCN Red List Categories (A1a, A2b, E) is straightforward. "Endangered" status is approached, based on a probable decrease of 40% in the last three generations, and a possible decrease of 40% in the next three generations, extrapolated from the present rate of decrease.

There is little evidence that the annual loss of birds has slowed as the population has decreased (Crawford et al. 1995a). If the present loss (40 000 adults in the last 15 years) continues, extinction in the wild will occur within 70 years.

Future trends in the overall population of African Penguins are difficult to predict. The recent decrease has been driven by large losses at Dyer Island and at colonies in the south of Namibia. It could be argued that as these colonies become smaller, further decreases will have less impact on the world population, and may indeed be offset by increases at expanding colonies. Similar reasoning in the early 1980s would have held that increases at then expanding colonies, including Dyer Island, would sooner or later have offset losses elsewhere.

It can be expected that trends at the two large colonies in Algoa Bay (St Croix and Bird Islands), which between them support 42% of all African Penguins (Crawford et al. 1995a), will have a large influence on the future world population. For example, a catastrophic oil spill in Algoa Bay could almost halve the world population. The proposal to create a port and heavy industrial complex near the St Croix group of islands will place the colonies there at high risk.

Trends in Western Cape Province will mainly be influenced by events at Dassen, Dyer and Robben Islands, which support 37% of the World population. The proposal to develop Saldanha as a major port for oil and bulk carriers, with a predicted frequency of major oil spills (equivalent to or larger than the Apollo Sea spill) of once in 20 years, threatens the penguin populations within and adjacent to the area.

Mercury and Ichaboe Islands support 78% of the Namibian and 12% of the world populations. Penguins at these localities will be at risk, e.g. from displacement by seals (Crawford et al. 1989), if island staff is withdrawn. Additional threats in this region are prospecting for and exploitation of diamonds on or immediately adjacent to breeding localities, oil exploration along the Namib coast, and the present extreme shortage of food for penguins.

The total area available for nesting by African Penguins is less than 1000 ha (about 16 km2). There are only 14 colonies with more than 1000 adults. The establishment of two new breeding localities in the 1980s, and recolonization of a third, must be offset against the loss of one colony off southern Namibia. Breeding may also soon stop at Pomona and Hollams Bird Islands.


1. Population monitoring
Trends in populations should continue to be monitored at all extant colonies. At selected localities, demographic parameters should be monitored. Of particular concern is the present paucity of recruitment of young adults to the breeding population at several localities, e.g. Possession Island.

2. Legal protection
All breeding localities of this vulnerable species should be legislated as nature reserves.

3. Security of food base
Food is probably the main limiting factor at most colonies west of Cape Agulhas. Means of improving the forage base should be investigated, e.g., ensuring adequate escapement of prey fish from fisheries.

4. Management of oiling
A reduction in oil contamination should be targeted. Rescue of oiled birds should be supported. A coordinated contingency plan for the rescue of oiled penguins should be devised. A rehabilitation facility in Algoa Bay is necessary given the high proportion of the World population found in that region. The likely impact for the colony at St Croix Island of development of the proposed port nearby needs investigation. The impact on breeding colonies of searches for, and capture of, oiled birds requires research. Procedures to minimize disturbance during rescue operations should be devised. The likelihood of rehabilitated birds returning disease to wild colonies must be minimized. It is necessary to have a data base of hematological values in all captive populations in southern Africa.

5. Management of breeding habitat
Breeding habitat of African Penguins must be secured, e.g., through continued exclusion of seals, and improved, e.g. through shading and drainage. No guano scraping should be allowed in and around colonies of African Penguins. Risks of fire at Robben Island and Boulders should be minimized.

6. Management of predation
The impact of seal predation at selected colonies, e.g. Dyer Island, needs fuller investigation through field observations and modeling. There is potential for remedial action through the culling of "problem" seals. Populations of Feral Cats at Bird Island (Lamberts Bay), Dassen Island and Robben Island should be eliminated. The desirability of controlling Kelp Gulls at particular localities needs investigation. Measures must be implemented to preclude introduction of rats to islands.

7. Management of mortality arising from humans
There should be no exploitation of African Penguins or their eggs. The effect of net fishing in the immediate vicinity of penguin colonies must be investigated, and no netting that causes mortality of penguins leaving or returning to colonies should be allowed.

8. Management of tourism
Tourism to selected penguin colonies should be carefully implemented, and its effects monitored. Appropriate national tourism strategies need to be developed. Management of the Boulders colony to minimize conflict with man needs attention.

9. Augmentation and establishment of colonies
Means of establishing new colonies, or of manipulating colonies to expand in a certain direction (to minimize conflict with man), should be investigated. There is a likelihood that studies of behavior of captive populations can help in this. The possibility of returning birds bred in captivity to the wild should be investigated. The purpose of this would be to augment populations at colonies that are presently depressed of decreasing, and to establish techniques for reintroductions before the overall population has decreased to a critical level. This is a complex procedure and will require the assistance of specialist groups outside southern Africa. The technique, if established, will have value for other Spheniscus penguins.

10. Management of captive populations
African Penguins in captivity (except for rehabilitation) should be kept in such a manner as to be individually recognizable, so that accurate information on ancestry can be maintained in stud books. Export of African Penguins from southern Africa should only be allowed from institutions that keep accurate records of stock, including provenance information, when available, and to institutions that keep similar records.

PHVA: Yes. (Population and Habitat Viability Assessment needed.)

Captive Program Recommendation: Level 3 (A captive breeding programme is not currently recommended as a demographic or genetic contribution to the conservation of the species, but is recommended for education, research or husbandry.)
Level of Difficulty: 1 (Least difficult. Techniques are in place for capture, maintenance and propagation in captivity.)
Existing Captive Population (ISIS): 873 (121 in Japanese collections may be hybridized and their lineages and genetics need to be examined before inclusion in co-operative programs). In recent years South Africa's East London Aquarium (ELA) has sold captive-born juveniles from excess stock to reputable zoos in other countries. The total number of birds traded by ELA is probably less than 30. In each instance, provincial nature conservation authorities issued the appropriate permits. The Port Elizabeth Oceanarium has sold no birds as yet, but is actively seeking buyers for its excess stock. There seems to be no trade of genuinely wild African Penguins, not even rumours of such activity.


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  • Crawford, R.J.M., Allwright, D.M. and Heyl, C.W. 1992a. High mortality of Cape Cormorants (Phalacrocorax capensis) off western South Africa in 1991 caused by Pasteurella multocida. Colonial Waterbirds 15: 236-238.
  • Crawford, R.J.M., Underhill, L.G., Raubenheimer, C.M., Dyer, B.M. and Martin, J. 1992b. Top predators in the Benguela ecosystem - implications of their trophic position. South African Journal of Marine Science 12: 675-687.
  • Crawford R.J.M., Dyer, B.M. and Brooke, R.K. 1994. Breeding nomadism in southern African seabirds - constraints, causes and conservation. Ostrich 65: 231-246.
  • Crawford, R.J.M., Williams, A.J., Hofmeyr, J.H., Klages, N.T.W., Randall, R.M., Cooper, J., Dyer, B.M. and Chesselet, Y. 1995a. Trends of African Penguin Spheniscus demersus populations in the 20th century. South African Journal of Marine Science 16: 101-118.
  • Crawford, R.J.M., Dyer, B.M. and Brown, P.C. 1995b. Absence of breeding by African Penguins at four former colonies. South African Journal of Marine Science 15: 269-272.
  • Crawford, R.J.M., Boonstra, H.G.v.D., Dyer, B.M. and Upfold, L. 1995c. Recolonization of Robben Island by African Penguins 1983-1992. In: Dann, P., Norman, I. and Reilly, P. (Eds). The Penguins: Ecology and Management. Chipping Norton, Australia: Surrey Beatty and Sons: 333-363.
  • Crawford, R.J.M., Shannon, L.J. and Whittington, P.A. 1999. Population dynamics of the African Penguin Spheniscus demersus at Robben Island. Marine Ornithology 27: 139-147.
  • Cyrus, D.P. and Robson, N.F. 1980. Bird Atlas of Natal. Pietermaritzburg: University of Natal Press.
  • De Kock, A.C. and Randall, R.M. 1984. Organochlorine insecticide and polychlorinated biphenyl residues in eggs of coastal birds from the Eastern Cape, South Africa. Environmental Pollution Series A 35: 193-201.
  • Erasmus, T., Randall, R.M. and Randall, B.M. 1981. Oil pollution, insulation and body temperatures in the Jackass Penguin Spheniscus demersus. Comparative Biochemical Physiology 69A: 169-171.
  • Frost, P.G.H., Siegfried, W.R. and Cooper, J. 1976. Conservation of the Jackass Penguin (Spheniscus demersus (L.)). Biological Conservation 9: 79-99.
  • Hockey, P.A.R. and Hallinan, J. 1981. Effect of human disturbance on the breeding behaviour of Jackass Penguins Spheniscus demersus. South African Journal of Wildlife Research 11: 59-62.
  • Kerley, G.I.H. and Erasmus, T. 1987. Cleaning and rehabilitation of oiled Jackass Penguins. South African Journal of Wildlife Research 17: 64-69.
  • Lluch-Belda, D., Crawford, R.J.M., Kawasaki, T., MacCall, A.D., Parrish, R.H., Schwartzlose, R.A. and Smith, P.E. 1989. World-wide fluctuations of sardine and anchovy stocks: the regime problem. South African Journal of Marine Science 8: 195-205.
  • Lluch-Belda, D., Schwartzlose, R.A., Serra, R., Parrish, R., Kawasaki, T., Hedgecock, D. and Crawford, R.J.M. 1992. Sardine and anchovy regime fluctuations of abundance in four regions of the world oceans: a workshop report. Fisheries Oceanography 1: 339-347.
  • Morant, P.D., Cooper, J. andRandall, R.M. 1981. The rehabilitation of oiled Jackass Penguins Spheniscus demersus 1970-1980. In: Cooper, J. (Ed.). Proceedings of the Symposium of Birds of the Sea and Shore. Cape Town; African Seabird Group: 267-301.
  • Nel, D.C. and Williams, A.J.W. submitted. Restoration of African Penguins oiled in 1994 into the Dassen Island population. Marine Ornithology.
  • Parker, V. 1999. The Atlas of the Birds of Sul do Save, Southern Mozambique. Cape Town and Johannesburg: Avian Demography Unit and Endangered Wildlife Trust.
  • Rand, R.W. 1952. The birds of Hollamsbird Island, South West Africa. Ibis 94: 452-457.
  • Rand, R.W. 1963a. The biology of guano-producing seabirds. 4. Composition of colonies on the Cape islands. Investigational Report, Division of Sea Fisheries of South Africa 43: 1-32.
  • Rand, R.W. 1963b. The biology of guano-producing seabirds. 5. Composition of colonies on the South West African islands. Investigational Report, Division of Sea Fisheries of South Africa 46: 1-26.
  • Randall, R.M. 1983. Biology of the Jackass Penguin Spheniscus demersus (L.) at St Croix Island, South Africa. Unpubl. Ph.D. thesis, University of Port Elizabeth: 262 pp.
  • Randall, R.M. 1989. Jackass Penguins. In: Payne, A.I.L. and Crawford, R.J.M. (Eds.). Oceans of Life off Southern Africa. Cape Town: Vlaeberg: 244-256.
  • Randall, R.M. and Bray, R.A. 1983. Mortalities of Jackass Penguin Spheniscus demersus chicks caused by trematode worms Cardiocephaloides physalis. South African Journal of Zoology. 18: 45-46.
  • Randall, R.M., Randall, B.M. and Erasmus, T. 1986. Rain-related breeding failures in Jackass Penguins. Le Gerfaut 76: 281-288.
  • Randall, R.M., Randall, B.M., Cooper, J., La Cock, G.D. and Ross, G.J.B. 1987. Jackass Penguin Spheniscus demersus movements, inter-island visits and settlement. Journal of Field Ornithology 58: 445-455.
  • Randall, R.M., Randall, B.M. and Compagno, L.J.V. 1988. Injuries to Jackass Penguins (Spheniscus demersus): evidence for shark involvement. Journal of the Zoological Society of London. 214: 589-599.
  • Rebelo, A.G. 1984. Cape Fur Seal Arctocephalus pusillus kills Jackass Penguin Spheniscus demersus on land. Cormorant 12: 111.
  • Rice, F.H. and Saayman, G.S. 1987. Distribution and behaviour of Killer Whales (Orcinus orca) off the coasts of southern Africa. Investigations on Cetacea 20: 231-250.
  • Ross, G.J.B. and Best, P.B. 1989. Smaller whales and dolphins. In: Payne, A.I.L. and Crawford, R.J.M. (Eds.). Oceans of Life off Southern Africa. Cape Town: Vlaeberg: 303-314.
  • Shannon, L.J. and Crawford, R.J.M. 1999. Management of the African Penguin Spheniscus demersus - insights from modelling. Marine Ornithology 27: 119-128.
  • Shaughnessy, P.D. 1980. Influence of Cape Fur Seals on Jackass Penguin numbers at Sinclair Island. South African Journal of Wildlife Research 10: 18-21.
  • Shelton, P.A., Crawford, R.J.M., Cooper, J. and Brooke, R.K. 1984. Distribution, population size and conservation of the Jackass Penguin Spheniscus demersus. South African Journal of Marine Science 2: 217-257.
  • Underhill, L.G., Bartlett, P.A., Baumann, L., Crawford, R.J.M., Dyer, B.M., Gildenhuys, A., Nel, D.C., Oatley, T.B., Thornton, M., Upfold, L., Williams, A.J., Whittington, P.A. and Wolfaardt, A.C. 1999. Mortality and survival of African Penguins Spheniscus demersus involved in the Apollo Sea oil spill: an evaluation of rehabilitation efforts. Ibis 141: 29-37.
  • Van Dyk, L.P., Wiese, I.H. and Mullen, J.E.C. 1982. Management and determination of pesticide residues in South Africa. Residuals Review 82: 37-124.
  • Whittington, P.A., Dyer, B.M. and Klages, N.T.W. 2000. Longevity of Jackass Penguins on islands off South Africa. Marine Ornithology 28 in press.
  • Williams, A.J., Dyer, B.M., Randall, R.M. and Komen, J. 1990. Killer Whales Orcinus orca and seabirds: "play", predation and association. Marine Ornithology 18: 37-41.
  • Wilkinson, C.P., Esmonde-White, D.A., Underhill, L.G. and Whittington, P.A. 1999. African Penguins Spheniscus demersus on the KwaZulu-Natal coast, 1981-1999. Marine Ornithology 27: 111-113.
  • Wilson, R.P. 1985. The Jackass Penguin Spheniscus demersus as a pelagic predator. Marine Ecology Progress Series 25: 219-227.  

Species Editor/Coordinator for CAMP: R.J.M. Crawford

Contributors: J.-J. Brossy, I. Cordes, R.J.M. Crawford, N.T.W. Klages, W. Maritz, R.M. Randall, S. Rohm, L.J. Shannon, H. Urquhart, P.A. Whittington and A.J. Williams.

To be cited as:

Ellis, S., Croxall, J.P. and Cooper, J. 1998. Penguin Conservation Assessment and Management Plan. Report. IUCN/SSC Conservation Breeding Specialist Group, Apple Valley, MN 55124 USA.

Copies of the full CAMP report, covering 20 penguin species (and subspecies), can be ordered through the Conservation Breeding Specialist Group, IUCN Species Survival Commission, 12101 Johnny Cake Ridge Road, Apple Valley, MN 55124 USA. The price is US$35.

The Animal Demography Unit (ADU) is grateful to Dr Susie Ellis of the IUCN/SSC Conservation Breeding Specialist Group for permission to include this document in the ADU website. In this version, references to papers that were "in press" when the CAMP document was published in 1998 have been updated where possible, and some minor updating has been undertaken in the text.