yellow eyed penguins
A New Zealand Penguin, Hard to Spot, Is Harder to Preserve
The shy yellow-eyed penguin, threatened by human endeavors, natural predators and hot weather, faces extinction despite conservation efforts.
By Marcel Haenen

The problems are familiar. Loss of habitat due to farming, difficulty coping with increasing temperatures attributable to climate change, decrease in fish stock due to commercial overfishing, wildfires (which killed half the population in 1995) and predation from dogs and cats. Basically: humans, again.


Incredibly shy, the yellow-eyed penguin is truly odd. Measuring about 65 centimeters, or just over two feet tall, with striking yellow eyes and a yellow band across its head, it is the rarest species of penguin, nesting in the forest and returning to it. It is also severely endangered.

Despite various measures deployed in recent years to protect this penguin’s flocks, the outlook remains bleak. On average, only 18 of 100 penguin chicks survive their first year at sea. A decade ago, the population was estimated at 6,000. Today conservationists reckon that only 2,000 yellow-eyed penguins are alive.