The planet's largest colony of King penguins has declined by nearly 90% in three decades, alarmed researchers said on Monday. The last time scientists set foot on France's remote Ile aux Cochons — roughly half way between the tip of Africa and Antarctica — the island was blanketed by two million of the flightless birds, which stand about a meter tall.
Global warming is on track to wipe out 70% of the world's King penguins by century's end, putting the regal birds on a path towards extinction, researchers warned on Monday. As climate change drives away the fish and squid upon which the flightless creatures depend, the penguins must swim further afield to find sustenance for their hungry hatchlings on land.
The world’s northernmost colony of king penguins has something to celebrate this week, as Tuesday marks Penguin Awareness Day and these well dressed seabirds play host to an international group of scientists gathered to discuss the Falkland Islands’ rich potential for new research.