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Endangered Species Research

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ESR 21:89-95 (2013)  -  DOI:

The initial journey of an Endangered penguin: implications for seabird conservation

Richard B. Sherley1,2,3,*, Katrin Ludynia1,2, Tarron Lamont4, Jean-Paul Roux1,5, Robert J. M. Crawford1,4, Les G. Underhill1,2

1Animal Demography Unit, Department of Biological Sciences, and 2Marine Research Institute, University of Cape Town, Rondebosch 7701, South Africa
3Bristol Conservation and Science Foundation, Bristol Zoo Gardens, Bristol BS8 3HA, UK
4Oceans and Coasts, Department of Environmental Affairs, Rogge Bay 8012, South Africa
5Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources, PO Box 15 394, L?deritz, Namibia

ABSTRACT: Seabirds can disperse widely in search of prey, especially during non-breeding periods. Conservation measures predominately focus on protecting breeding colonies, but juvenile survival and recruitment can have critical impacts on population dynamics. We report the first deployment of satellite transmitters to track the dispersal of fledgling African penguins Spheniscus demersus, a step towards determining the at-sea behaviour of post-fledging birds and identifying the key non-breeding habitats for this species. Five hand-reared fledglings dispersed from their release sites in the Western Cape, South Africa, in a north-westerly direction. Birds moved >100 km within 6 d and reached a mean distance of >1000 km from their release sites. Two key foraging areas were identified in regions of high and reliable primary productivity, one around Swakopmund, Namibia, and one north of Lambert’s Bay, South Africa. Neither site has protected status, underlining the importance of adaptive strategies to preserve key foraging hotspots and the need for further information on post-fledging dispersal to improve seabird conservation.

KEY WORDS: Juvenile dispersal · Seabird conservation · Foraging hotspots · Important bird areas · Satellite tracking · Benguela current · Fledglings

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Cite this article as: Sherley RB, Ludynia K, Lamont T, Roux JP, Crawford RJM, Underhill LG (2013) The initial journey of an Endangered penguin: implications for seabird conservation. Endang Species Res 21:89-95.

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