12 Dec 2017
The word “gannet” is synonymous with gluttony - but lack of food is becoming a serious problem for the Cape Gannet. This year it has been uplisted from Vulnerable to Endangered due to population declines driven by depleted fish stocks.
The Afrikaans name for the Cape Gannet Morus capensis is “Malgas”, meaning “mad goose”. This makes sense when you see this large seabird on the ground. Their ungainly waddle, coupled with the difficulty they have in taking off when there isn’t any wind, does appear quite comical. But at sea and they are different birds entirely. When feeding, they plunge into the water like arrows, to depths of up to 20 metres.
But these seabirds, endemic to South Africa and Namibia, have recently been uplisted by BirdLife from Vulnerable to Endangered on the IUCN Red List.