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A new research in the journal of Current Biology states that the African penguins of the world are in trouble. African penguins are an endangered species. When their young ones move out from the colony for the first time in search of food, they travel far in the ocean. Certain signs indicate to them the presence of an area with plenty of plankton and lots of fish that feed on this plankton.

But over-fishing and climate change has caused rapid shifts. This means that, led by these signs, the penguins find themselves at places where their main prey- sardines, is scarce. This can have adverse effects on their survival- referred to as an ‘ecological trap’.

The study shows that those penguins that end-up at such degraded ecosystem often fail to survive. Their breeding numbers have been reduced by approximately 50% lower than what they would have been in areas where the human-impact is less severe. "Protecting the penguins -- and other species -- from falling into similar ecological traps will require better action to account of the needs of predators in managing fisheries and concerted action to tackle climate change" says Richard Sherley, the paper’s author.

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