The rocky shore

84.1 x 59.4 cm, Ink, 2020

“Let the water teem with living creatures and let birds fly above above the earth across the expanse of the sky”. 

The African penguin or jack-ass penguin is endemic to southern Africa. Like many wild animals, their overall population has been decimated in the last century. It is estimated that their total number has declined from an estimated 4 million individuals in preindustrial times to only around 55000 (in Namibia and South Africa combined) in 2010. The African penguin, like many other seabirds, is monogamous and breeding and raising duties are split equally between the two partners. Over a breeding season a female will typically produce two eggs which are then incubated by both partners over the duration of 40 days. Reasons for this decline include the historical collection and sale of penguin eggs as a delicacy (apparently the egg white remains translucent when cooked), the collection of the guano from their breeding islands for sale as fertilizer (but thus depriving the penguins of this medium for creating burrows), oil spills and overfishing of their prey species (mainly sardines and anchovies).

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