GRANITE ISLAND - The annual penguin census at Granite Island is in full swing, with the birds' numbers being counted by volunteers this week and next week.
Friends of Encounter Seabirds penguin ecologist Natalie Bool said 20 birds were counted on the island on Monday, August 13.
About 30 volunteers helped with this week's count, which included people from Seaton High School, Flinders University, and locals.
Their numbers this year are expected to drop to double figures, following from 102 birds being recorded in the 2011 count.
Miss Bool is expecting the numbers to keep dropping.
"What's happening here could happen across the state," she said.
"It could highlight the need for more research to be done (on the reasons for penguin numbers declining).
Unofficial reasons for their decline so far have included New Zealand fur seals, rodents, stray animals, climate change and lack of food.
Post mortem examinations of dead birds found on the island and surrounding areas are indicating death by cats and dogs is a cause of their death.
"Please put a lead on your dogs and lock your cats in at night," Miss Bool said.
Volunteers are being sought for the count this Monday, August 20. Contact her by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org