The Annual Seabird Monitoring Programme
The Falkland Islands support seabird populations that are of global importance both numerically, and in terms of conservation status. An estimated 72% of the global population of Black-browed Albatross breeds in the Islands which are also home to the majority of the world’s population of Southern Rockhopper Penguin, Gentoo Penguin and Southern Giant Petrel. The Southern Rockhopper Penguin is classified as 'Vulnerable' (IUCN Redlist), due to large decreases in its population over the last century. Whilst the Black-browed Albatross has recently made positive moves from 'Endangered' to 'Near Threatened', it shares this status with the Gentoo Penguin which moved from 'Least Concern' in the early 90s. The Southern Giant Petrel moved from 'Vulnerable' to 'Least Concern' in the early 2000s.
|Teaching a local volunteer how to ring young black-browed albatrosses on Steeple Jason in March 2015.|
Currently the FISMP monitors breeding population trends and breeding success in Gentoo Penguin, Southern Rockhopper Penguin, King Penguin, Black-browed Albatross, Southern Giant Petrel and Imperial Shag, visiting remote survey sites and islands by 4 x 4, plane and boat. Monitoring a range of species with differing ecologies has additional benefits as they also serve as indicators of potential change in other Falkland Islands seabird populations or oceanographic conditions.
|Counting gentoo penguins for the Falkland Islands Seabird Monitoring Project.|
Building Capacity for Habitat Restoration
This Darwin Plus funded project trials the use of native plants for restoring eroded land on farms and nature reserves. Soil erosion from fire, climate change and grazing is a significant problem across the Falkland Islands and threatens important habitats including coastal tussac and its ecosystem with penguins and sea lions. There is currently no supply of native plant seed for landowners wishing to restore their land with native plants and this project aims to provide start up quantities of seed and growing information.
|A variety of seeds collected.|
|Assessing the habitat restoration plots.|
Oiled Seabird Rehabilitation Facility
The Oiled Seabird Rehabilitation Facility cares for oiled and injured seabirds, mostly penguins, which are brought in by the public to be cleaned of oil, and then rehabilitated until they are ready to be released.
|First, vegetable oil is massaged into the feathers. This thins out the heavy crude oil. Then washing up liquid and water remove all trace of the oil.|
|The penguins are given time to swim and preen, ensuring they are fully waterproof before they are released back into the wild.|
|The penguins are then taken to a remote beach to be released.|
Our efforts to build appreciation and understanding of wildlife and conservation continue through the Watch Group. The junior membership of Falklands Conservation has 55 members ranging in age from 8 years old to 15.
|Looking at a sample aboard the expedition vessel Hans Hansson.|
|Children explore rock pools during a camp to Elephant Beach Farm.|
|A group takes a closer look at the pond life at Hawks Nest Pond, West Falkland.|
Lower Plants Project
The Lower Plants Project is a two year project surveying the bryophytes and lichens of the Falkland Islands undertaken and run by Falklands Conservation between 2014–2016. Funded by the UK Government through DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) and the Darwin Initiative, this project was set to fill the ‘critical knowledge gap’ in bryophytes and lichens that was identified in the Falkland Islands Biodiversity Strategy 2008–2018, and to increase local awareness.
|A workshop run to increase awareness of the different species.|
|A selection of mosses, liverworts and lichens.|
If you would like to become a member of Falklands Conservation, adopt a penguin, or donate towards our Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre, the education centre for the Watch Group, or any other of our conservation activities, please visit www.falklandsconservation.com, our Just Giving Site at www.justgiving.com/falklandsconservation or follow us on Twitter @FI_Conservation or Facebook https://www.facebook.com/Falklands-Conservation.