Worldwide marine protected areas (MPAs) have been designated to protect marine resources, including top predators such as seabirds. There is no conclusive information on whether protected areas can improve population trends of seabirds when these are further exploited as tourist attractions, an activity that has increased in past decades. Humboldt Penguins (Spheniscus humboldti) and Magellanic Penguins (S. magellanicus) breed sympatrically on Puñihuil Islets, two small coastal islands off the west coast of Chiloé Island (41° S) in southern Chile that are subject to exploitation for tourism. Our goal was to compare the population size of the mixed colony of Humboldt and Magellanic Penguins before and after protection from unregulated tourism and freely roaming goats in 1997. For this purpose, two censuses were conducted in 2004 and 2008, and the numbers compared with those obtained in 1997 by other authors. The proportion of occupied, unoccupied, and collapsed/flooded burrows changed between years; there were 68% and 34% fewer collapsed burrows in 2004 and 2008, respectively, than in 1997. For the total number of burrows of both species, we counted 48% and 63% more burrows in 2004 and 2008, respectively, than in 1997. We counted 13% more burrows of Humboldt Penguins in 2008 than in 1997, and for Magellanic Penguins, we estimated a 64% increase in burrows in 2008. Presumably, this was as a result of habitat improvement attributable to the exclusion of tourists and the removal of goats from the islets. Although tourist visits to the islets are prohibited, tourism activities around the colonies are prevalent and need to be taken into account to promote appropriate management.
|Translated title of the contribution||Population trends of a mixed-species colony of Humboldt and Magellanic Penguins in Southern Chile after establishing a protected area|
|Journal||Avian Conservation and Ecology|
|Publication status||Published - 2013|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Animal Science and Zoology
- Nature and Landscape Conservation