Living on the equator, Galapagos penguins are the most northerly occurring of all penguin species, but these charismatic birds have a more ominous claim to fame - they are the world's rarest penguins.
Found exclusively in the Galapagos Islands, their total population is less than 1,000 breeding pairs and they have been considered Endangered for more than a decade. With a range of threats including predation by introduced species, avian disease, habitat loss and climate change, the management and conservation of the remaining individuals is essential if we are not to lose this species forever.
They now face the potentially catastrophic arrival of El Niño, an extreme weather phenomenon that warms the water temperature, destroying the penguins’ food source. Without food, penguins do not continue to breed. El Niño events in the 1980’s wiped out more than 70% of all Galapagos penguins, and with the current El Niño set to be among the strongest on record, the risk of a population collapse is high. Whilst we cannot stop El Nino, we can ensure that we re-double our efforts to stop the impact of predatory invasive species, pollution and disease.
The Galapagos Conservation Trust is raising funds for the Penguin Monitoring Project. By carrying out a series of population surveys every year, the research team are able to gather data which helps determine whether the penguin populations are stable, increasing or decreasing. This data is then used to inform effective conservation management decisions.
Our hope is that through our Galapagos Penguin Appeal we will to continue funding this vital project, but this will only be possible with your support.
Will you help to protect the world's rarest penguin?
Because the Galapagos penguin faces a 30% chance of extinction in the next 100 years.