Why are yellow-eyed penguins important?
Yellow-eyed penguins are one of the world’s rarest and their numbers may be declining. We need to preserve the species.
Dee Boersma considers penguins ocean sentinels, helping us understand the effects of pollution, overfishing and climate change on the marine environment. Highly sensitive to variations in the ocean, penguins sound the alarm on environmental threats to marine ecosystems.
As well as being ocean sentinels there are many reasons the yellow-eyed penguin is important including:
- With an estimated 6000-7000 remaining in New Zealand, the yellow-eyed penguin is one of the most endangered penguin species on the planet (IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources) Red List of Threatened Species™). In 1988 until 1994 they were considered threatened when they were classed as vulnerable. From 2000 until today they have been reclassed as endangered.
- It is the last species of its genus, Megadyptes. This genus has only one species: the yellow-eyed penguin.
- It may be the most ancient of all living penguins.
- They are an important tourist attraction and many tourism businesses depend on them.