Long term studies such as ours are important in helping us understand what effects humans are having on the environment, and also help train the next generation of conservation biologists. Some of the changes we’re seeing in the penguin populations are subtle, and would go undetected in a shorter study. Some of the questions we are answering include: How does climate variation affect foraging patterns? Where do penguins and people come into conflict at sea? What factors determine how many chicks fledge each year? We know that changes in penguin behavior can tell us when something is happening in the environment. What exactly they are telling us, unfortunately, is becoming clear. The number of breeding pairs of Magellanic penguins at Punta Tombo has declined over 20% in 25 years. We don’t have much time to ignore the message. For the next decade we will be using the penguins to help make human ocean uses more compatible with wildlife. One of the first steps is to zone the South Atlantic Ocean with wildlife in mind, and reduce the conflicts between people and wildlife.
Learn about the current issues facing Magellanic Penguins and how to help.