In August, Pobjoy Mint launched a second five-coin series celebrating the penguins of the Falkland Islands – the penguin capital of the world.
Since then, one coin has been released each month. The series is now complete.
Each coin is a seven-sided, 27.30 mm, 8.00 g cupronickel 50p. Each presents a colored head shot of a representative of penguin of each species. Mintage is 7,500 apiece.
The first one in August was the Macaroni Penguin, one of the six known species of crested penguins. Although the population on the Falklands is small, this is the most common penguin throughout the sub-Antarctic and along the Antarctic Peninsula and numbers some 18 million individuals.
Next up was the most common Falkland penguin, the Gentoo. These guys are permanent residents in the Falklands and at the last census totaled 121,500 breeding pairs. Those pairs are distributed in 85 colonies: 17 on outlying islands, 32 on West Falkland, and 36 on East Falkland.
The King Penguin is the largest Falkland species and the second largest in the world. The Falklands host about 1,000 breeding adults who raise more than 500 chicks each year. However, the local population has been growing at a greater rate than the number of chicks and is likely due to couples relocating from an overcrowded South Georgia.
October saw a Magellanic Penguin coin released. This critter is a summer resident in the Falklands. The birds start arriving in September, each paired with the same partner as the previous year and with each pair returning to the same burrow. They remain through to March when their chicks are mature enough to go solo. Adult numbers are estimated to be about 100,000 pairs.
The last coin in the present series celebrates the smallest and most agile penguin in the Falklands, the Southern Rockhopper. Their population has experienced several crashes from a high of over 1 million birds prior to 1930. Today the islands hold 320,000 pairs or 36 percent of the global population. They arrive in early October to breed at 35 colonies around the islands before departing by the end of April.
Readers having a need for a 50p penguin in their life (or the whole set) should get started by checking out www.pobjoy.com.
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