Scientists say the population of northern rockhopper or Moseley’s Penguins has declined by ninety percent over the past 50 years.
According to a study published in Bird Conservation International, the largest rockhopper penguin colonies are estimated at between 32,000 to 65,000 pairs on Gough Island, and 40,000 to 50,000 pairs on Tristan da Cunha Island.
The two South Atlantic islands account for more than 80 percent of the total population, MSNBC reported.
“Historically, we know that penguins were exploited by people, and that wild dogs and pigs probably had an impact on their numbers,” Lead author of the paper Richard Cuthbert of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds said.
“However, these factors cannot explain the staggering declines since the 1950s, when we have lost upwards of a million birds from Gough and Tristan.”
“The declines at Gough since the 1950s are equivalent to losing 100 birds every day for the last 50 years”, he said.
Researchers believe climate change, overfishing and changes in marine ecosystems might have caused the decline in the northern rockhopper population.