The New Zealand yellow-eyed penguin (hoiho) population has taken a steep dive in number.
The Department of Conservation (DoC) has reported that penguin numbers are there lowest in 25 years.
They have discovered the nest numbers in Otago-Southland have plummeted from 491 breeding pairs in 2012 to 160 counted so far.
They do not expect more than 190 breeding pairs in total.
DoC’s coastal manager Annie Wallace said a series of events were to blame, including a suspected toxic agent on the Otago Peninsula in 2013 which killed more than 70 penguins.
In the last few years, DoC has found only small numbers of young penguins under the age of two.
However, nest numbers on the island had decreased from 61 breeding pairs in 2001 to 32 pairs this season.