28 Feb '12, 2pm

Macquarie Island Penguin population makes a comeback; from 4,000 to 500,000 strong.

Macquarie Island Penguin population makes a comeback; from 4,000 to 500,000 strong.

On the small Antarctic island of Macquarie, between New Zealand and Antarctica, there was once a population of roughly 3 million king penguins (Aptenodytes patagonicus). About one hundred years ago, this penguin colony, known as a rookery, was subject to a terrible slaughter at the hands of New Zealand blubber merchant, Joseph Hatch. He and his crew boiled the 3 million penguins to extract oil for lamps. Word got out of this mass killing, and an international campaign was established to protect what little penguins were left. Thanks to that campaign, the remaining rookery of merely 4,000 has blossomed to 500,000. Furthermore, genetic tests have found that the population’s genetic diversity has returned to pre-slaughter levels.

Full article: http://www.enn.com/wildlife/article/44058

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