Royal Penguins (Eudyptes schlegeli) in the breeding rookery, sitting on eggs on their pebble nests, and mutually preening. There are about 20,000 breeding pairs in this rookery. Macquarie Island is the only place where Royal Penguins breed. Southern Ocean, Australia. Clearly any environmental disaster would have a huge impact on this species of penguin. They are considered vulnerable due to limited breeding sites.
On 3 December, 1997 Macquarie Island was listed as a World Heritage Area, the second Tasmanian World Heritage Area. Macquarie Island is a site of outstanding geological and natural significance on a world scale.
The island is one of only a very few in the Pacific sector of the Southern Ocean where fauna in the region can breed. Around 3.5 million seabirds and 80,000 elephant seals arrive on Macquarie Island each year to breed and moult. Fur seals are beginning to re-establish populations on the island after nearly being exterminated in the early 19th century.
Canon EOS, zoom lens.
(Featured in The World as we See it, or as we Missed it.)