The yellow-eyed penquin is native to New Zealand’s South Island and nearby sub-arctic islands, where the population of the endangered penquin has dramatically diminished from about 7,000 in 2000 to no more than 1600-1800 today.
Whenua Hou (Codfish Island in Maori) has been set aside as a sanctuary for the birds and is predator free, so the threat does not come from on land. Rather, since the waters surrounding the sanctuary are fished by commercial trawlers it is believed that the penquins are caught and drowned in fishing nets.
By some estimates nearly half of the sanctuary’s penquin population has met this fate. To demonstrate the severe decline, in 2016, 24 nests were recorded on Whenua Hou, in contrast to only 14 this year. (photo – AP)
Beloved Icon, But Don’t Bank On It Surviving!
The yellow-eyed penquin is a beloved New Zealand icon, even being pictured on the country’s 5$ banknote.
What is necessary to stem the tide is to place limits on fishing in the penquin feeding areas or at a minimum to increase the number of observers on fishing boats (presently now, on only 3% of ships). Read more in the Guardian.
Bird Song May Become Swan Song
Otherwise as Thomas Mattern, a penguin expert from the University of Otago said “Quite frankly, the yellow-eyed penguins, in my professional opinion, are on their way out.”
By Robert Frerck, Blue Ocean Network
Extinctions At an Unprecedented Rate
In just the last month Blue Ocean has brought stories to you on the plight of the Vaquita, the Western Atlantic Right Whale and the Red Wolf, now unfortunately one more species is on the list of animals approaching extinction. See our story on the massive die-off of Adelie Penquins; Thousands of Adelie Penquin Chicks Starve!
Related Blue Ocean Articles on Endangered Species:
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