World’s largest king penguin colony collapses by almost 90% in space of 35 years

Harry Cockburn in The Independent:

Aerial and satellite images of the colony living on the remote subantarctic island of Île aux Cochons, in the southern Indian Ocean, suggests the number of penguins has fallen from around 500,000 pairs in the 1980s, to just 60,000 pairs in photographs taken in 2015 and 2017.

Until now, it was regarded as the second-largest colony of penguins in the world, after one on Zavodovski Island in the South Sandwich Islands, where the slopes of an active volcano are home to around two million chinstrap penguins.

Scientists have not yet identified why the population of king penguins on Île aux Cochons has shrunk so dramatically, but they noted that it is not possible for the birds have migrated elsewhere, as there are no other islands suitable for them to inhabit within striking distance.

More here.