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July 16, 2010

African penguin Conservation: Guano Scraping

chick-day-1

In order for African penguins to successfully hatch eggs and chicks, they must have appropriate nesting sites called burrows (this is a photo of a chick at the vulnerable age of Day 1). Nest sites are often made by digging into the build-up of guano (penguin feces). The burrows that are created allow adults and chicks protection from the elements. The burrows also allow for protection of the eggs and chicks from predators, like flying birds. As early as the 1890′s, guano collection proved to be a rich source of agricultural fertilizer. It has historically been a major cause of disturbance at many colonies and its removal has deprived penguins of nest-burrowing sites. Guano harvesting in South Africa was officially stopped in 1984. Although the scraping no longer continues, the loss of guano still has an impact today. The remaining guano is not deep enough to burrow in, forcing the birds to breed on the surface. However, on one island named Dyer Island, a series of covered fiberglass nest boxes have been introduced. www.dict.org.za The African penguins have taken over these fiberglass nests and will hopefully be more successful in nesting over the next years.-Pamela Schaller


Filed under: CAS Penguin Colony — Penguins @ 1:29 pm

1 Comment »

  1. this is soo cuteeeeeeee

    Comment by madi — October 9, 2010 @ 3:28 pm

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