The "punk rockers of penguins" hopefully will be around for quite a while, thanks to a new agreement that calls for the creation of a new marine protected area in Argentina where the distinctive birds, also known as Southern rockhopper penguins, live.
These penguins got their punk nickname and reputation due to the spiked plumes on their crown. They also have bright yellow "eyebrows," red eyes and pink feet.
(Credit for images: Wildlife Conservation Society)
The marine protected area will be called Parque Marino Isla Pinguino, which means Penguin Island Marine Park. It will safeguard more than 650 square miles of coastal waters strung along almost 60 miles of shoreline.
A joint effort by the Government of Santa Cruz and Argentina's National Parks Service is making this possible, along with years of study and conservation work conducted by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS).
"This decision by Argentine officials represents a significant commitment by the government to protect an extraordinary marine ecosystem," said Avecita Chicchon, who is director of the WCS's Latin American Programs. "The creation of this park will help to ensure a future for the threatened species in this region and will protect the area's unique national heritage."
According to the WCS, the global population of Southern rockhoppers has fallen sharply by about one-third in the last thirty years to about one million pairs. The species is now classified as "vulnerable" by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.
The WCS points out that while Argentina's coastline is largely undeveloped, wildlife there is threatened by pollution caused by offshore oil drilling and transport, as well as entanglement in nets used by commercial fishing fleets. In addition to the punk penguins, Magellanic penguins, southern elephant seals and other species live in the region.
You won't question why the punk penguins are also called "rockhoppers" if you watch this video.