“We have seen more than 200 little penguins killed in six attacks just this year. It is quite likely that there have been more that have not been reported or discovered.”
The deaths of more than 9,000 thousand seabirds along Alaska’s western coast this summer prompted government agencies to once again study their corpses to determine why they had died, according to a press release from the National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
For the study, scientists reviewed publications on threats to all 359 seabird species worldwide, identified the main drivers of seabird declines and quantified the magnitude of the impact of each threat.
An international collaboration has found that hazardous chemicals were detected in plastics eaten by seabirds. This suggests that the seabird has been threatened by these chemicals once they eat plastics.
The study found that the simple presence of plastic was enough to cause negative consequences, regardless of the amount.
Native to the coast of South Africa and Namibia, African penguin numbers have declined precipitously in the last few decades, from 56,000 breeding pairs in 2001 to approximately 20,000 pairs today.
Seabirds on the Abrolhos Islands are using pieces of plastic found in the ocean and on the shoreline to build parts of their nests, prompting a call for further research into the impact of plastic on bird populations.
Experts said an unknown number of penguins had been affected on the rocky, uninhabited island, which is home to the largest breeding colony of endangered African penguins in the world.
Up to 90 per cent of seabird populations in northern New Zealand are at risk of extinction, scientists say, with emerging threats like climate change adding extra pressure.
A study conducted by US researchers determined the high numbers of remains found by volunteer beach combers were just the tip of the iceberg, representing a massive mortality event of up to 8,800 birds.
That’s small enough to make it into a petrel’s stomach but too large to make it out of the small intestine, which can cause a blockage resulting in death.
The carcasses have been taken to Launceston for an autopsy but it’s understood the deaths are consistent with a dog attack.