The Galápagos penguin (pictured on Sombrero Chino Island) is the only penguin that lives at the Equator. Photo Credit: Joel Sartore/Nat Geo Images Collection

Animals Ecuador 4. November 2022

Population of Rare Penguin Shows Promise

Over a decade ago, biologists chiseled small holes out of lava on the Galápagos Islands in an effort to attract and save one of the world’s rarest penguins — and it might just be working.

“I expected it to be really good. But I was just so pleasantly surprised, because it’s the best breeding we’ve seen over the last 12 years,” says P. Dee Boersma, a biologist at the University of Washington in Seattle, of her newfound hope in the species.

The entire population of the Galápagos penguin is likely somewhere between 1,500 and 4,700 individuals, a number that stood at around 10,000 in 1982. The nests created by the biologists are in areas of the islands that are not yet inhabited by predatory rats and cats. Even though the most recent successful breeding season cannot be the sole determinant that the species survive, Boersma, who has been studying the species since 1970, believes the rare bird may just be able to rebound with the right protection and nests.

National Geographic

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