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Tiki the Penguin's guide for kids which explains why so much life on Earth is in trouble
Tiki the Penguin's guide for kids which explains why so much life on Earth is in trouble
I'm a dodo, now extinct because of humans

Hidden depths

The seas and oceans As you know, the sea is home to many animals including fish (yum! Sorry but I have a thing about fish) and mammals like seals and whales and dolphins. And, most importantly so far as I'm concerned, it's home to many types of seabirds including penguins like me! And — you guessed it! — many of my seabird friends are in trouble.Click for larger image Our numbers have dwindled by over a third in under 30 years. Evergy single one of the albatrosses, those huge majestic birds of the wild stormy oceans, is in some kind of trouble and three are critically endangered. And yes, several types of penguin are threatened and three are endangered including the little Galapagos penguin.

Albatross and chick. Image by James Preston
You can check out whether an animal is in danger in the IUCN Red List.

Part of the reason wildlife in the seas is having problems is that people are taking much more than their fair share. And it's not as though people even eat all the fish they catch. Lots of the fish are just ground up to make fertilisers or food (fish meal) for other animals (like fish-farmed salmon) which people then eat.

Fish are in trouble too The world's fishing grounds, once home to a wonderful mix of different creatures, are dying as powerful ships with big trawling nets and sonar systems to spot fish shoals suck up millions of tons of fish, including young ones which aren't even old enough to breed and make more fish. Perú once had the world's biggest fishing industry. That collapsed because of over-fishing. Likewise, the Grand Banks — a vast area of shallow water east of Newfoundland in Canada — used to be bursting with fish like cod. That fishery collapsed in the early 1990s, destroyed by people's greed.

Now another sea is almost fished to extinction: the North Sea (north west Europe). Here, big cuts in the number of fish people can catch have been ordered by governments to try and stop the collapse.

One of my relations in South Georgia, coming back from fishing. Thanks to Peter Barham for this picture.

Now, people — never learning lessons and always wanting to make more money — have started fishing in the Antarctic Ocean and are even sweeping up the krill which all seabirds like me, whales and seals depend on as well as the fish themselves. And some countries are still killing whales.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/noaaphotolib/ Antarctic Ocean with huge iceberg.
Krill (Euphausia superba) are little shrimpy things. They, along with other crustaceans such as copepods, are at the bottom of the food chain in the Antarctic Ocean. Without them, there would be no fish, seals, whales or seabirds. Humans are now beginning to disrupt this food chain by catching millions of these tiny creatures.
Shame on them!
Japan, Iceland and Norway between them kill hundreds of whales every year.

Coral reefs - Have you ever seen a coral reef? These are home to an awesome variety of plants and animals rather like the tropical rainforests on land. They are very beautiful too. But they too are in big trouble and many are dying because of what is called bleaching.many coral reefs are dying

Bleached coral . Image: John Howell
World's biggest reef badly damaged
Australia's Great Barrier Reef (and many others around the world) was seriously damaged in 2015-16 by the worst bleaching event ever recorded. This was because of a serious El Niño event caused, almost certainly, by global warming


Now: how about having a go at my Indicators Quiz to check out how you made it through that scary part of my guide.

This is my life in danger home page! Back to 'Drying up?'     Forward to 'What's going on?'

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