King Penguin Family's Population Starts to Decline

The researchers realized that the number of King Penguin families living in Île aux Cochons, which they had visited years later, began to decline.

Île aux Cochons, an island in the Indian Ocean, was home to nearly 2 million penguins, according to research conducted in 1982. However, after many years it was found that this number dropped in an unknown way. Scientists have reported that the population of the world's largest King Penguin family has fallen by 88%.

To determine the number of penguins on the Île aux Cochons site, researchers examined high resolution satellite imagery and photographs taken from helicopters. The estimates for the total number of penguins were made based on the square images they covered. Researchers have revealed that the number of penguins fell to 200,000 in April 2017 when it was 2 million breeders in February 1982. Henri Weimerskirch, a writer and ecologist at La Rochelle University in France, stated that the rate of decline was incredible.


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Dee Boersma, a Washington University conservation biologist who does not participate in the survey, said he was not fully convinced about the new population estimates. Boersma stated that the measurements taken from helicopters and satellites could be very different, and at the same time, the question of how the measurements made over the years are evaluated over the course of the year should be questioned.

Despite these figures, king penguin populations on other islands remain generally stable, which is both alarming and surprising for the island of Île aux Cochons. The cause of the collapse in the colon needs to be found as soon as possible because it may still be an active threat to the colony. For this reason, identifying the problem may prevent the colon from getting smaller. Researchers have created several possible scenarios that could lead to the death of penguins. According to the first scenario, it is believed that the wild cats and mice discovered in the 1970s were discovered in the 1970s. In the second scenario, diseases such as ticks and bird cholera are considered.


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Boersma said climate change and overfishing could be criminals. The favorite food of king penguins is light hunters, hunted by people in that area. The conservation biologist Boersma noted that not only endangered species but also the lives and numbers of other penguins should be controlled.