The Galapagos penguin is a species of penguin that is found on the Galapagos Islands. It is the only penguin that lives north of the equator in the wild. There are less than 1,600 Galapagos penguin pairs left in the world. This is believed to be the result of nature upsets in the Galapagos in the 1980s. Due to a particularly strong El Niño (the warm phase of a periodical climate change occurring in the tropical eastern Pacific), the currents of the ocean changed in a way that adversely affected the Galapagos penguins' food supply. As a result, many adults died of starvation. In addition, reproduction was nearly nonexistent under such stressful conditions.
DID YOU KNOW?
- The Galapagos penguins enjoy a variety of foods that they find in the waters around them, such as small fish, mullet, and sardines. If their preferred foods are not in sufficient supply to satisfy them, they will also consume a variety of crustaceans.
- It's possible for a Galapagos penguin to mate up to three times annually. There doesn't seem to be a specific season for mating, but most nests are seen between May and January.
- Interestingly, the Galapagos penguin is the most northerly of all the penguins, occasionally dipping north of the equator.
- The Galapagos penguin has been classified as endangered by the IUCN.
- The Galapagos penguin's scientific name is Spheniscus mendiculus.