The latest study carried out by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds has found that the population of Northern Rockhopper Penguin declined by some 90 percent over the last 50 years, and is on the brink of extinction. Some 50 years ago the population of northern rockhopper penguins was measured into the millions, but now these numbers have been decimated with largest colonies somewhere between 32,000 to 65,000 pairs on Gough Island, and 40,000 to 50,000 pairs on Tristan da Cunha Island; these two colonies make 80 % of total rockhopper penguin population.
Scientists still don't know the exact reason for such tremendous decline but study authors believe this has to do with the fact that penguins were exploited by people, and that wild dogs and pigs probably also had an impact on their numbers. There are also the usual culprits in form of climate change, shifts in marine ecosystems and overfishing. It is really crucial to understand the reason for such rapid decline, not only because of rockhopper penguin population but for other penguin species as well because more than half of the world’s penguins is facing varying degrees of extinction.