Penguins vote with their flippers

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The Independent Online

Climate change may be forcing the rockhopper penguin, a symbol of the Falkland Islands, to make a political statement of its own by migrating to Argentinian territory.

Climate change may be forcing the rockhopper penguin, a symbol of the Falkland Islands, to make a political statement of its own by migrating to Argentinian territory.

Twenty years after the end of the Falklands conflict, scientists are examining this possibility as an explanation for a dramatic fall in the number of rockhopper penguins on the islands. At the same time, the colonies of rockhoppers have remained stable and even increased on Staten Island, an Argentinian island 250 miles to the south-west.

Scientists have tagged rockhopper penguins to trace their movements amid rising concerns about their welfare, classified as vulnerable by Birdlife International and the World Conservation Union. Both groups have expressed alarm at the competition the penguins face with the fishing industry for food.

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