Threats To Penguins

Jan 19, 2019
Threats To Penguins

On January 20th it is Penguin Awareness Day, and we would like to take some time to learn more about penguins and the threats that they face.

What threats do penguins face?

Plastic Pollution

A study from 2015 showed that by 2050 nearly every species of seabird will be accidentally eating plastic pollution. Penguins are no exception from this, like other seabirds and marine animals, plastic pollution has already started to take its toll and has been for a long time. Many seabirds get caught in plastic rings, like the poor penguin pictured bellow, others are making the mistake of ingesting plastic which comes with its own detriments and dangers. If a penguin swallows too much plastic the debris will build up in their digestive system, unable to be broken down it sits there and prevents them from digesting actual food.

Penguin Killed By Plastic Pollution - Photo Credits Andrew Pitt, Wineglass Bay, Tasmania.

A little penguin killed by plastic pollution. - Picture by Andrew Pitt, Wineglass Bay, Tasmania.

What can we do to help?

The number one thing you can do to help prevent penguins death by plastic is to go plastic free, or at least reduce your plastic footprint. Where ever you can buy natural, biodegradable products and consider the impact on the planet.

Climate Change

One of the big ways climate change is affecting penguins is with the increase of storms. These storms are not only more frequent but they also bring extreme temperatures and rainfall, which can be catastrophic for baby penguins who doesn't yet have waterproof feathers. The young penguins' fluffy down is only able to keep them warm and protect them from the harsh cold when it’s dry. The rain is also bad news for the penguins eggs, as the rainfall leaves puddles and surface water on the ground where the penguins nest and unfortunately the eggs aren't able to survive when they are lying in a pool of water. 

The rising temperatures of the ocean could affect a vast number of species of fish, posing a threat to the penguins food supply.

Penguins on a Beach in South Africa

What can we do to help?

Some of the best ways to reduce your carbon footprint and do your part to combat climate change are:

  1. Reduce the amount of meat in your diet - this doesn't mean cut it out completely (although it would make a bigger impact) but just reducing the amount of meat that you consume. 

  2. Driving & flying less - Try to make more trips on foot or by bicycle, consider a car share to work or taking the bus. Also reducing the amount you fly by plane will greatly reduce your carbon footprint, even if it is just one less flight a year!

  3. Save energy as and where you can - Turning things off at the plugs is a good start, also using energy-saving light bulbs in your home, washing your clothes in either warm or cold water (not hot!)

  4. For more ways on how you can reduce your impact on climate change see here.


Overfishing affects many marine animals and does a lot to upset the ecosystem in the ocean. Penguins are no exception to this, in South Africa commercial fishing reduces the amount of anchovies and sardines available for the penguins to feed their young and as a result the penguin population has fallen by 70% over the last 12 years!


What can we do to help?

Only consume seafood that you know has come from a sustainable source. This is the big main way you can help our oceans, by only supporting sustainable fishing industries we can help the oceans eco system recover!

Learn more about the threats that penguins face here at Oceana

Save $5 on Penguin Scarfs

We know that you love high quality products for great prices, so we have an epic offer for you today, Our Penguin Lover Scarfs are light weight and super soft, they come in beautiful pastel colours, either white, light grey, pink or green. If you order via the link below you can save $5!

Every purchase from Ocean Helper supports amazing marine conservation charities, we donate at least 10% of gross profits to a different organisation each month as well as supporting the Billion Baby Turtles project.

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