Climate change and other ecological factors are pushing a drastic decline in the iconic chinstrap penguin and may be nearly wiping out entire colonies across Antarctica.
Scientists surveying chinstrap populations say that every one of the 32 colonies surveyed on Elephant Island, a major population hub for the birds, has declined since the last survey 50 years ago. Some colonies declined by as much as 77 percent.
Preliminary figures from the survey show a 58 percent decline of birds on the island, from 122,550 breeding pairs in 1971 to 52,786 in January 2020.
“This shows something in the marine ecology is broken or has drastically changed since the 1970s,” researcher Noah Strycker told The Guardian.