Climate havoc killing off penguins
PENGUIN populations have plummeted at a key breeding colony in Argentina, mirroring declines in many species of the marine flightless birds due to climate change, pollution and other factors, a study shows.
Dee Boersma, a University of Washington professor who led the research, said the plight of the penguins is an indicator of big changes in the world's oceans due to human activities.
"Penguins are in trouble," said Professor Boersma, whose study appears in the journal BioScience, said in an interview.
"They certainly are canaries in the coal mine."
For the past 25 years, Prof Boersma has tracked the world's largest breeding colony of Magellanic penguins located at Punta Tombo on Argentina's Atlantic coast.
She said that since 1987 she had observed a 22 per cent decrease in the population of these penguins at the site.