To me the African Jackass Penguin—so named because they bray-- are the cutest birds on earth. And they are some of the most endangered. They have been designated vulnerable to extinction from a combination of habitat destruction, marine pollution, guano mining for fertilizer, egg collection by humans for food and industrial fishing of their diet of sardines, anchovies, and mackerel. There is only 10% of the number of penguins now, then at the beginning of the 19th century. Their population continues to decline, and according to some scientists, African Jackass Penguins, found in South Africa, may be extinct by 2026.
Here on a seaside granite boulder, these two couples met at daybreak. They greeted each other like old friends. With their body language they seemed to exchange pleasantries! When these two couples exchanged beak nuzzles, I swore I saw a heart.
Polar Bears evolved from brown bears to accommodate their artic climate. Their ears are shorter to avoid frostbite. Their snouts are longer to enable them to grab seals more readily from ice holes. And their dinner-plate sized paws are covered with fur and textured, to protect them from the frost. They have a profound sense of smell—reportedly able to smell a seal a mile away under 3 feet of snow. Profoundly equipped for extreme cold, they are now endangered due to climate change and the melting of the polar ice.
Orcas, like elephants, are known to be sentient beings, feeling, and responding to sensations and emotions. We encountered some 50 Orcas in Seward, Alaska’s Resurrection Bay—a “super pod” of inter-mingling groups of Orcas--that had come together to mate. This fellow seemed to be celebrating by vocalizing, breaching and tail splashing. Meanwhile, Bear Glacier in the background evidences an unrelenting melt.
Orca’s live for 100 years, and they pass down their memories through offspring, resulting in generational memory. Recent boat ramming’s by Orcas have caused some scientists to question whether they Orcas know that we’ve massively degraded the state of their seas and are revolting against our behavior.
© The Photographer's Eye: A Creative Collective