Although the Magellanic penguin is not classified as globally threatened, it has, nevertheless, been severely impacted upon by several threats. These include oil pollution resulting from the deliberate release of oily ballast water from tankers (4). This is believed to kill more than 20,000 adults and 22,000 juveniles every year on the Argentine coast (5). The threat of oil pollution could be further increased by the development of offshore petroleum extraction around the Falklands (5), as during a five-month period of oil exploration around the islands in 1998, three oil spills occurred killing hundreds of Magellanic penguins (2). Expanding commercial fisheries are also having a detrimental effect on the Magellanic penguin, as they cause shortages of prey species, resulting in high levels of chick mortality due to starvation. The growing fisheries have also resulted in an increasing number of penguins caught as bycatch (5). At a more local level, threats to this species include egg collection, predation by foxes rats and cats and disturbance by tourists (2) (5). While currently, the global population of the Magellanic penguin remains relatively high (an estimated 1,300,000 pairs) rapid declines are evident at many locations, with some authorities estimating that 50 percent of the Falkland Islands population has been lost since the 1980s (5).
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