Humans and penguins have always been good friend for ages. We can see the affiliation of small children towards penguins. Their fondness about penguin shows a bond of friendship between these two.
Speaking over all, the relation between humans and penguins has been nice and lovely; however we cannot see penguins and humans mostly together as these to tend to live apart from each other in different areas. The penguins have lived in the far areas for ages whereas the humans have been living away from them.
Why don’t penguins fear humans?
We can have many reasons for which the penguins don’t fear humans. The main reason for this fact is that penguins live away from in remote areas throughout their life. They spend their lives near other penguins. So, firstly they do not know who are human by seeing them. How can they fear someone they are seeing for the first time in their life? Secondly, throughout their life, penguins stay in colonies away from any type of predator (except leopard seals, sea lions and orcas) that can give harm to it 0r other penguins. So they have developed their mind as to live without fear. We have seen some times, when humans tend to go near penguins; they just watch and observe them fearlessly. These two things tells us about the reasons why penguins don’t have any particular fear of humans.
Are penguins really nice to humans?
There is a question that can pop up in our minds; Are penguins really nice to humans? Do they react to them in any kind of aggressive way and consider them as their foes? This is also quite simple. As we can see that penguins live in large groups and colonies. We can rarely see a penguin alone in an area. This thing usually removes their fear of humans. However, their reaction on seeing a human mostly depends on their state. If a human tries to interact with a penguin during the season of its reproduction, it can definitely cost him much because we can see that a penguin becomes aggressive in its reproductive season. So if a human tries to interact with a penguin near its eggs, it will surely consider him/her as its foe.
Furthermore, different species of penguins have different reactions to humans. The penguins living in northern areas are seen to have less fear of humans as they encounter less land predators. Most of the threats they have are from aquatic creatures so they seem to show less fear from humans. On the other hand, the other species of penguins like kings, gentoos and others have a rick of encounter of land predators so they will surely show an aggressive attitude towards humans.
Are penguins used as human food?
No, penguins have not been used as a casual food in any area by any people. Mainly, it has been declared illegal to hunt penguins and use them as food. Currently all 18 species of penguins are legally protected from hunting and egg collecting. The Antarctic Treaty was signed by 12 nations in 1959 and reauthorized in 1991 to protect Antarctica and preserve its living resources. According to the treaty, it is illegal to harm, or in any way interfere with, a penguin or its eggs. So we can see that there is no area in which penguins and their eggs are used as food.
However, on some incidents, we have seen people using penguins as a food and a living source. Once, a group of researchers were staying in Antarctica for research while their ship got stuck in the ice. It took them so much time that they ran short of their food and all the supplies. So, in order to fulfill their food requirements, they hunted penguins and used them as their food. Penguin’s meat was also said to be a good source of energy. But they cannot be captured for other purposes.
Are human beings, a threat to penguins?
By, seeing the activities of human beings and their effect on the atmosphere, we can surely say that, human beings are a big threat to the existence of penguins. They are hurting them in a number of ways. Taking in account the number of threats on penguins, we cannot say that humans are the only threat to penguins, living in a complex environment full of predators; the penguins are at a big risk of depleting in numbers over the past few years. Most penguins are hunted by predators like seals, sharks and other animals. Now let’s see the main threats imposed by humans on penguins:
One of the main reasons, why humans are a threat to the penguins is the global warming. Many scientists think that global temperatures are increasing. According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Earth’s temperature has risen 1.4 Fahrenheit degrees (about 0.8 Celsius degrees) since 1800, and global sea levels have risen about 178 millimeters during the last 100 years.
We know that the mega threat, global warming is mainly caused by human beings. The gases released by human activities, industries, plants, machines and other stuff is causing a rise in the temperature of this world, that is causing the glaciers and ice caps in the polar regions to melt and become water. As a result, this is posing a threat for the species of penguins that live in Polar Regions. As a change in environmental temperature, the penguins will lose their living habitat and they will be introduced to a new environment in which they cannot fit easily. This will result in sharp decrease in the number of that species of penguins. Also, this will affect other species of penguins in many ways. Take the case of Emperor penguins that mainly need icebergs for their nests and to lay eggs there. When any of the icebergs breaks and separates due to global warming and fells into the water, the chicks that have not developed the thick layer of insulation also fell in cold water and die. In this way the Emperor penguins lose their nest as well as chicks.
Global warming is affecting Penguins Living in warm Areas too
Even penguins living in warm regions such as Galapagos penguins and Humboldt penguins depend on ocean currents carrying large volumes of cold water, nutrients, and the algae that feed on these. If this species supports a climate of up to 28° C, is because the cold waters where it swims and searches for food. Then, we can easily say what can happen to penguins if the temperature of the ocean increases. As the temperature of water increases, the warm water does not let the nutrients from the cold water layer to come up on the surface of water, so the small animals that feed on these nutrients don’t come to the surface of water that affects the penguins as a result.
Researchers fear that the threat of Global Warming will mainly affect the species of penguins that live in Polar Regions and a sharp decrease in their number will be observed in near future. Some people are taking the safety measures in order to preserve the penguin species but their efforts are not giving a positive response so far.
Oil spills are a big source of detriment for many animals, and this also applies to these flightless creatures. Being around oil can bring upon an array of troubles for emperor penguins. They accidentally can swallow oil while grooming, which can trigger toxicity and cause serious havoc on their organs. These spills often result from ships that travel through their habitat. This is also a major threat to the number of penguins. There should be serious measures taken in order to stop the oil spill from ships.
One of the threats that cause a decrease in the number of penguins is the human activities, and this includes the air planes flying in the areas of habitat of penguins. The flying planes cause the penguins to frighten and it causes a rush in a large number of penguins that result in injuries to a large number. The injured one cannot survive longer as the atmosphere is tough to survive. So it is also a cause in a decrease in the number of penguins.
Antarctica isn’t exactly a hub of bustling human life, although the frosty continent is home to its fair share of scientific research centers. The presence of these establishments also sometimes throws confusion into the patterns of emperor penguins, thus adversely affecting certain segments of the population. So, this is also a threat on penguins and is causing a decrease in the number of penguins.
What can Humans do to save Penguins?
Penguins are beautiful, charming, inspiring and among the world’s most recognizable birds. There are many risks the penguins are facing now a day, and we can see a sharp decrease in their numbers over the past years. The main cause of this decrease in the penguin number is the human activities. Human’s activities over the past few years have led to the sharp decrease in the penguin number. Humans are truly a threat to the penguins. They must do what they can in order to save the penguins. Here are some things that humans can do in order to save penguins:
Human appreciation is not the only thing needed to stop the penguins from extinction. Of the 18 species of penguin, 10 are listed as either vulnerable or endangered on the IUCN Red List, giving them the rank of the second most threatened group of seabirds, behind only the albatrosses. Like albatrosses, penguins have been experiencing the worst of both worlds. At their land-based breeding sites, predation by introduced species, habitat degradation and disease are driving down numbers.
Steps to save Penguins
Stop the Illegal killing
At first, the main thing humans should do is to stop the illegal killing of penguins. A number of penguins are still killed illegally in order to use their meat and oil for different purposes. Few years ago, a contract has been signed among the 12 countries in order to stop the illegal killing of penguins and save the number of penguins. This will take as a first step in saving of penguins and will contribute a lot in saving them.
Control Global Warming
Humans should take considerable measures to decrease Global Warming as they are the main cause of this threat for the penguins. It is due to Global Warming, a lot of penguins have died and have lost their habitat. It poses a same level of threat to not only all species of penguins, but other animals as well. If the humans succeed in decreasing the Global Warming threat to a normal level, then this can benefit not only penguins but also more animal species.
Stop Oil Spills
Human activities such as oil spills are also a major cause of the killing of a large number of penguins. Normally we see an incident of oil spills after some years. The oil mixed water is drunk by the penguins that damages their body and becomes a cause of their death. The atmosphere is also hard and it is tough to survive in that area in presence of a large number of predators, so a diseased penguin cannot survive for much time. Therefore, considerable measures should be taken in order to stop the oil spilling incidents.
Build conservation centers
Humans should form conservation centers for the penguins near their habitat that should help in increasing their number and focus on providing an artificial environment in which they can live freely without any risk of predators and diseases and easily increase their numbers. The main form of support the humans can provide is by artificially providing the penguins, the environment and ecosystem in which they can easily live an increase their number. This will surely be a great move in increasing their number. The conservational centers can also contribute in treating the penguins with vaccines. In this way they can save the penguins from a large number of diseases and will help in an increase in their number.