World’s rarest penguin population declines, thanks to commercial fishing | GBRI

The yellow-eyed penguin, world’s most endangered penguin species, is slowly disappearing from New Zealand. A recent survey in Codfish Island found that almost half the population of penguins had already disappeared in the area. In other parts of New Zealand, the bird’s population is at its lowest level in 27 years.

The yellow-eyed penguin is endemic to New Zealand’s South Island and sub-Antarctic islands, where there are just 1,600 to 1,800 left in the wild, down from nearly 7,000 in 2000.

Forest & Bird’s chief executive Kevin Hague said because the island was predator-free, the evidence pointed to the animals being caught and drowned in the nets of commercial fishing trawlers. Only 3% of commercial trawlers have independent observers on them to report bycatch deaths.

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