Threats to yellow-eyed penguins / hoiho

Hoiho face a number of threats at sea and on land which impact their survival and ultimately lead to a population decline. They have become casualties of human activities – historically they were hunted for food, fires destroyed vast tracts of habitat and people arrived with predators. Today these predators still roam the countryside and we continue to share the coastal space occupied by penguins, putting their lives at risk.

Terrestrial impacts such as predation and land-use changes, can for the most part be managed. But even on offshore islands without terrestrial impacts, a decrease in the hoiho population is evident. This indicates that marine impacts are a major cause of decline.

Hoiho are considered to be ocean sentinels, helping us to understand the effects of pollution, over-fishing and climate change. They are highly sensitive to variation in the ocean, and sound the alarm on threats to marine ecosystems.

The cumulative impact of a range of different threats means that hoiho are less resilient to any additional impacts.


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