IN THE MEDIA: World Press Photo Winner
Posted on December 9, 2011
Thomas. Peschak, 1st Prize, Nature Singles – World Press Photo 2011
FLIGHT FOR SURVIVAL
Cape gannet chicks are face starvation as a result of overfishing off the west coast of southern Africa. This adult bird with its 2 m wingspan is on final approach to land on Malgas Island, one of the most important breeding colonies in the world. During the breeding season Cape gannets travel up to 450km per day in search of food for their chicks. If however the fish are further away, the adults will not sacrifice their own health by making longer flights. They return with an empty stomach, and the chicks starve to death. Cape Gannet numbers having been plummeting since the 1960s and if this decline is to be halted then conservation efforts have to go beyond protecting the nesting colonies. Fisheries quotas must be reduced to sustainable levels, and possible even curtailed in the birds essential foraging ranges. The survival of Cape Gannet populations is intrinsically linked with the health of Southern Africa’s marine ecosystems.