Endangered species are those that are currently in existence but that may not be for much longer unless the right steps are taken to safeguard them.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is a global authority that determines the endangered status of a species and subspecies using a set of criteria to evaluate their extinction risk. The IUCN Red List is a recognised guide to the status of biological diversity. With more than 23,000 species threatened with extinction, each is assigned a ranking from Least Concern, Near Threatened, Vulnerable, Endangered, Critically Endangered, Extinct in the Wild and Extinct.
Here at Living Coasts, we care for a number of endangered species and contribute towards conservation work to ensure the survival of these incredible animals. Here are just a few of the species you can see and learn more about at Living Coasts…

Species: Bank cormorant
Latin name: Phalacrocorax neglectus
Conservation Status: Endangered

The bank cormorant is distributed across Namibia and South Africa. With an estimated 3000 breading pairs remaining in the wild, this species of cormorant is Endangered.
Rarely found more than 15km offshore, the bank cormorant’s diet consists of fish, rock lobster and squid. The bank cormorant can dive as deep as 28 metres for an average of 49 seconds while foraging for prey.
One of the biggest threats to this species is overfishing, making it harder for them to find prey. Loss of habitat and marine pollution are also significant threats to the survival of this species.
Living Coasts worked closely with the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB). They have a specific bank cormorant project which includes improving rehabilitation rates, building breeding platforms and undertaking disease surveillance, while developing techniques to release captive-bred bank cormorants into the wild.
Living Coasts is the only zoo outside of Africa that is home to these birds.

Species: African penguin
Latin name: Spheniscus demerus
Conservation Status: Endangered

Found along the sandy beaches of South Africa, the African penguin lives in large colonies, with an estimated 30,000 breeding pairs remaining in the wild.
A largely monogamous species, they lay their eggs in burrows and hatch one or two chicks after around 30-40 days of incubation.
Human activities such as overfishing and global warming are threats to the survival of this species, causing a massive decline of the fish stocks which the African penguins rely on. Loss of habitat due to tourism is another major threat to this species.
Our work with The Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB) included support for the establishment of a first-ever Chick Rearing Unit (CRU) at SANCCOB in Cape Town, to build local expertise in hand-rearing abandoned African penguin chicks from eggs. SANCCOB has successfully released more than 4000 chicks back into the wild.

Species: Macaroni penguin
Latin name: Eudyptes chrysolophus
Conservation Status: Vulnerable

The Macaroni penguin is the world’s most numerous penguin with millions of breeding pairs and a huge circumpolar range at over 50 islands on sub-Antarctic islands. Despite this, population trends have led IUCN to class this species as Vulnerable as numbers are on the decline.
Krill forms the bulk of their diet (up to 90% during breeding season), but they also eat fish and squid.
Another monogamous species, macaronis spend most of their life out at sea, only coming to land to breed and moult. Each pair will only rear one chick per year.
The main threats to this species are overfishing (particularly the harvesting of krill, their main food source), marine pollution, climate change and introduced predators such as cats and rats.

Find out more about our African and macaroni penguins at our educational talks at 10.30am every day at Penguin Beach.

Species: Asian short clawed otter
Latin name: Aonyx cinerea
Conservation Status: Vulnerable

This Vulnerable species in habits the mangrove swamps and freshwater wetlands of Bangladesh, Burma, India, southern China, Taiwan, Laos, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.
Living in extended family groups, only the alpha pair breed and form monogamous pairs for life. They can have up to two litters of one to six young per year.
A protected species in almost all of the territories that it inhabits, killing is prohibited but hunting for their pelts still plays a large role in this species’ rapid decline. Habitat loss and pollution are also contributing factors. Numbers have declined by more than 30% in the past 30 years and the Asian short clawed otter’s conservation status was upgraded to Vulnerable in 2008.
Find out more about our Asian short clawed otters at our educational talks; otter brunch at 11.15am and the otter feed at 3.30pm every day.
If you would like to get that little bit closer to our penguins and otters, why not book a feeding or a dive experience? For more information and to view all of the experiences that we offer, please visit our website here; https://www.livingcoasts.org.uk/support-us/gifts-experiences

Quotes The presenter talks were great, we learnt a lot about the animals here. Quotes