Northern Rockhopper Penguin species nears extinction
The population of the Northern Rockhopper Penguin have declined by 90 percent in 50 years, and this species once had numbers in the million. Now the largest colonies are on Gough Island, with 32,000 to 65,000 pairs and on Tristian da Cunha Island, with 40,000 to 50,000 pairs.
These are two island in the South Atlantic, and in these two areas, it accounts for 80 percent of the total species population.
Possible reasons for the penguins to be declining could be due to climate change, overfishing and changes to the marine ecosystems.
"Historically, we know that penguins were exploited by people, and that wild dogs and pigs probably had an impact on their numbers," Richard Cuthbert of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and lead author of the paper, said in a statement. "However, these factors cannot explain the staggering declines since the 1950s, when we have lost upwards of a million birds from Gough and Tristan."
"The declines at Gough since the 1950s are equivalent to losing 100 birds every day for the last 50 years", he added.