by Bob Yirka , Phys.org
A pair of researchers with Mandela University has found that when African penguins work together to corral fish, they attract seabirds intent on taking advantage of the suddenly available prey. In their paper published in the journal Royal Society Open Science, Alistair McInnes and Pierre Pistorius describe their multi-year study of African penguins and what they learned about them.
African penguins are the only penguins that live off the shores of Africa, and they are endangered—population levels are 70 percent lower than they were just 15 years ago. Prior studies have shown that the primary reason for their decline is a decrease in their food supply—sardines and anchovies and other small fish. Humans use nets to catch the same fish, leaving little for the penguins to eat. In this new effort, the researchers sought to learn more about the eating habits of the penguins in hopes of finding a way to save them from extinction.