Falkland Islands Penguin Census

rockhopper 2008Falklands Conservation initiated the Falkland Islands Seabird Monitoring Programme (FISMP) in 1990. The FISMP involves the annual census of selected seabird breeding colonies but also includes an Island Wide Census (IWC) conducted at 5-yearly intervals since 1995 (i.e. 1995, 2000, 2005). The purpose of the FISMP is to understand the population trends of key seabird species breeding at the Falkland Islands in order to support informed conservation initiatives and guide policy. The purpose of the IWC is to ensure fluctuations at selected annually monitored breeding colonies are representative of changes for the Falkland Islands population as a whole. The FISMP and IWC also aim to engage, educate and involve the local community. Regular monitoring of Falklands seabird populations has contributed to the identification of regional and global conservation priorities and provides information necessary for IUCN listing.

The fourth IWC of Gentoo (Pygoscelis papua) and Rockhopper (E. c. chrysocome) penguins breeding at the Falkland Islands was undertaken in November 2010.

 

Gentoo penguin: The 2010 population estimate was 132,321 ± 2,288 breeding pairs, double the number of Gentoo penguin breeeding pairs counted during the last IWC in 2005 (65,860 ± 1,052). The 2010 population estimate is the largest number reported for the Falkland Islands and is now (probably) the largest population in the world. Based on the revised Falkland Islands population estimate, the global population is now about 400,000 breeding pairs.

Rockhopper penguin: The number of Rockhopper penguin breeding pairs increased by 50.6% when compared with the number counted during the last IWC in 2005. The Falkland Islands population of Rockhopper penguins is now estimated to be 319,163 ± 18,503 breeding pairs, the second largest population (after Chile). The Falkland Islands Rockhopper penguin population is best described as stable, but remains at less than 20% of the 1930's population estimate.

 

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For further information please contact the Conservation Officer.

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