The fortune in penguin poo

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By Scott A. Rowan

The fortune in penguin poo

Conservation comes in all forms and one way that penguins have made the best of a messy situation was to use piles of guano (penguin poop) for future nests. Many species use this tactic, particularly the African and Humboldt Penguins, but the poop that they used to help raise their chicks was gold to hunters.

Before chemists were able to manufacture better fertilizer for farmers, penguin guano was the best natural source for nitrogen. Hunters considered the poop to be “white gold” and would harvest the hardened piles of excrement and transport it back to North America and Europe for sale to farmers.

In 1959, The Antarctic Treaty was established by the United States and 11 other countries to prevent to hunting of penguins or the disturbing of their chicks and nests. The treaty was enacted to stop the theft of penguin poop as much as it was to stop the mass killing of penguins for the oil in their tails. Today, 53 countries around the world adhere to the Treaty and its protection of all penguins.

One of the key reasons guano helps penguins is that it allows them to build a nest that is not on the ground. Without the guano, the penguins are forced to lay their eggs on the ground, which makes it easier for predators to steal the eggs.

SOURCES:

Brennan, Patricia. Penguins and Other Flightless Birds. Chicago, IL: World Book, Inc, 2002.

Daigle, Evelyne. The World of Penguins. New York, NY: Tundra Books, 2007.

Simon, Seymour. Penguins. New York, NY: Collins, 2007.

SLJ Staff. “And Tango Makes Three’ Tops Most Challenged List, Again.” School Library Journal. April 12, 2011. Accessed: January 30, 2013.

Stamps Showing Emperor Penguin Aptenodyte forsteri.” Theme Birds. Accessed: January 30, 2013.

Stefoff, Rebecca. Penguins. Tarrytown, NY: Marshall Cavendish Benchmark, 2005.

Walsh, Michael. “Scientists Solve the Mystery of Penguins’ Incredibly Fast Underwater Swimming Speed: A Secret Layer of Bubbles.” Daily News. October 20, 2012. Accessed: January 19, 2013.

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/birds/e/emperor-penguin/

https://www.factretriever.com/penguin-facts

http://www.antarctica.gov.au/about-antarctica/wildlife/animals/penguins

http://ocean.si.edu/penguins

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#penguins #birds #canpenguinsfly #CGW #coolgrossweird #besurprised #flocked

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