The Great Penguin Rescue: Saving the African Penguins

48p. chron. further reading. index. notes. photos. websites. Millbrook. Sept. 2017. Tr $30.65. ISBN 9781512413151. POP
Gr 4–7—Markle continues her series of books about efforts to save endangered species, this time focusing on the plight of penguin colonies along the coast of Namibia and South Africa. She deftly incorporates information about the penguins' life cycle into her examination of factors that led to a disastrous population drop from an estimated four million adults in the 1800s to about 50,000 in 2010. Humans removed guano from nesting sites, ate eggs, and overfished feeding areas. Also, warming oceans forced adults to swim farther for food. However, the greatest threat came in 2000, when a sinking ore carrier released a massive oil spill during breeding season. Markle documents how thousands of volunteers cleaned oil-coated birds and transported others to safety. She describes ongoing efforts of the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB) to increase African penguin numbers by raising orphaned chicks, hatching abandoned eggs, and exploring possible sites for a new colony. She neither minimizes the major difficulties nor ignores SANCCOB's steady accomplishments. Numerous photos accompany the engaging text and may surprise readers accustomed to seeing penguins against snowy landscapes instead of sandy beaches. Clare Hibbert's Penguin Rescue uses some of the same stock photos to illustrate a less detailed presentation of SANCCOB's work.
VERDICT Markle delivers another compelling story of wildlife conservation efforts that deserves a place in most collections.

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