The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed listing seven penguin species as either threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act. Contemporary penguins face a variety of threats, from climate change altering their habitat to prey declines from overfishing to mortality from longline fishing and predation. Oil spills have also harmed some penguin populations.
Here are the proposed listings.
- African Penguin (Spheniscus demersus)
- Yellow-eyed Penguin (Megadyptes antipodes)
- White-flippered Penguin (Eudyptula minor albosignata)
- Fiordland Crested Penguin (Eudyptes pachyrhynchus)
- Erect-crested Penguin (Eudyptes sclateri)
- Humboldt Penguin (Spheniscus humboldti)
- Southern Rockhopper Penguin (Eudyptes chrysocome)
- Emperor Penguin (Aptenodytes forsteri)
- Northern Rockhopper Penguin (Eudyptes moseleyi)
- Macaroni Penguin (Eudyptes chrysolophus)
Listing penguins is relatively controversy-free for the government. Since penguins do not occur naturally within the boundaries of the United States, the decision will not impinge significantly on American business or landowner interests. Instead, the main effects of the listing would be that importing or exporting penguin specimens would be illegal without a permit and that Bush's Interior Department would get to increase its paltry list of newly-protected species by a few more birds. While I am pleased to see the Interior Department moving ahead with species protection, I would much prefer to see that movement among those candidate species where U.S. governmental action could do the most good.