Iconic penguin species could go extinct in less than 40 years

Iconic penguin species could go extinct in less than 40 years

An iconic penguin species found on the New Zealand mainland could go extinct in less than forty years unless an urgent action is taken, according to a peer reviewed study.

A team of researchers from the University of Otago found that the population of Yellow-eyed penguin on the New Zealand mainland is shrinking dramatically. Between 1996 and 2013, the species has lost more than 75 per cent of its population.

Thomas Mattern, one of the researchers from the University of Otago, saidi, “Between 1996 and 2013 we lost more than 75% of our population, and that trend seems to continue. If it does so we might lose the penguins completely within the last 20-40 years.”

The researchers warned that adult penguins are dying in fishing nets, bottom trawling and their sea-floor habitat, where they find their food, are being destroyed by a number of human activities.

They also blamed human disturbances caused by people walking their dogs on the beaches for the problem. Dogs do not necessarily kill the birds, but they force the birds to stay away, which is a problem for their chicks as they do not get food in time. Climate change is also increasing pressure on the endangered species.

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