The Falkland Islands:
Wildlife Haven in the South Atlantic
The Falkland Islands (population 2,500) lie in the South Atlantic on the equivalent latitude to London, about 650km off the coast of South America and 1600km from Antarctica. This remote archipelago of 700 islands covers an area half the size of Wales. Falklands Conservation is an active conservation charity based in the Islands devoted to protecting their unique wildlife. Its work is supported by the Falkland Islands Government and members in both the Falklands and UK. The New Island Conservation Trust focuses on conservation of that island and wider studies across the archipelago.

Sheep farming has led to considerable reductions in the abundance of native plants such as the giant tussac grass, a very important habitat for birds and insects in a treeless landscape. Felton's flower (pictured above), which grows nowhere else in the world, has become almost extinct in the wild through over-grazing. Efforts to replant tussac grass and Felton's flower have begun.

In the surrounding seas large scale commercial fisheries compete with seabirds for fish and squid. Penguins (pictured above left; king penguin) take other prey in addition to commercial species but a recent survey revealed declines in four of the five breeding species. Off the South American coast, long line fisheries are a threat to black-browed albatrosses (main picture).

Oil exploration around the Islands is a recent issue of conservation concern. It could have a serious impact on an area of exceptional marine life. Penguins, which cannot fly, are especially vulnerable to oil pollution.

click images for larger versions
The Falkland Islands are exceptionally rich in marine life. They contain vast colonies of seabirds – 85% of the world population of black-browed albatrosses , and the largest concentration of rockhopper penguins. They are breeding grounds for sea lions, elephant seals and fur seals, and fifteen species of whale and dolphin occur in the surrounding seas.
The UKOTCF is a Registered Charity (1058483) - keen to develop partnerships with business or commercial organisations