The population of Chinstrap penguins in the Antarctic has plummeted by more than 77 percent in the last 50 years.
That impressive decline clearly shows that the Southern Ocean’s ecosystem has fundamentally changed and negatively impacts the food web to species like chinstrap penguins.
Every single colony surveyed on Elephant Island – home to one of the world’s largest chinstrap penguin populations – had declined by almost 60 percent since the last survey in 1971 (52,786 vs 122,550 breeding pairs ).
Campaigners want to set up three Antarctic sanctuaries to offer protection for the Chinstrap penguin colonies and other species, creating the world’s largest protected area in Antarctic.
While scientists believe this penguin mass die-off is due to climate change, more than 1 million penguins died during an eruption in 2016. And back in 2018, a thriving colony of more than 1,5 million individuals was discovered on Danger Island, Antarctica. So the there’s probably a back-to-equilibrium phenomenon going on right now in Antarctica.