Introduced predators such as cats, stoat and ferrets have impacted yellow-eyed penguin populations. Habitat degradation, avian malaria, food shortages due to sea temperature changes, human disturbances, drowning in fishing nets, and accidental fires are all threats to yellow-eyed penguins.
All 17 penguin species are legally protected from hunting and egg collecting. The Antarctic Treaty of 1959 makes it illegal to harm, or in any way interfere with, a penguin or its eggs. Every penguin specimen collected with a permit must be approved by and reported to the Scientific Committee for Antarctic Research (SCAR). Penguins are vulnerable to habitat destruction, overfishing of primary food sources, ecological disasters such as oil spills, pollution such as trash in the ocean, and human encroachment into nesting areas.