How an Island Full of Landmines Led to a Thriving Penguin Population – Design You Trust

How an Island Full of Landmines Led to a Thriving Penguin Population

1

In the south-eastern part of the Atlantic Ocean is a small archipelago known as the Falkland Islands. Now there are more than 1 million penguins, but a few decades ago, these birds here were on the verge of extinction. Below you will find a story that tells how because the actions of human penguins had almost died, and then due to unintentional help people multiplied their number.

2

The 18th century was a popular time for whaling. The whale oil industry was booming, and the Falklands was an ideal place for catching whales and extracting whale oil. To produce whale oil, the blubber is separated from their bodies, and the fat is put on fire in gigantic vats of boiling water. But the Falklands is completely devoid of trees. The only vegetation here are a variety of wind-resistant dwarf shrubs that are entirely useless as fuel. Without wood to keep the fire going, the whalers started using another plentiful resource that made a suitable fuel – penguins.300 years ago, before the Europeans arrived, the islands were teeming with an army of penguins 10 million strong. This figure was reduced by 95%. Then the Argentinean invasion happened.

3

The Falklands War left the penguins with a bizarre kind of habitat protection. During Argentina’s occupation of the islands, its military laid down landmines along the beaches and pastureland near the capital city to deter the British from reclaiming the area. So far, these landmines haven’t killed anyone, but the well-marked and fenced-off explosive zones have made for prime penguin habitat. The penguins aren’t heavy enough to set off the mines, but because sheep and humans are, the little guys have the minefields all to themselves.

4

Today, there are still an estimated 20,000 landmines on the Falkland Islands. Over the years, they’ve come in pretty handy not only for protecting the penguin habitat from over-grazing, but also for keeping out overzealous tourists. Consequently, Falkland Islanders have decided that maybe having landmines isn’t such a bad thing.

After all, signs warning “Keep away from the penguins” will never be as effective as “Keep away from the penguins—or die.”

5

If you want more awesome content, subscribe to 'Oh, Design You Trust,' our brand new Facebook page! Trust me, you won't be disappointed.

More Inspiring Stories

Photographer Has Headed Into Areas Untouched By Sunlight And Found Creatures That Are Exploding With Colour
An Adorable Guide To The Dogs Of The World By Geographic Origin By Artist Lili Chin
The Secret Life Of Hamsters And Hedgehogs: Humorous Photos Of The House Pets By Elena Eremina
A Shocking Campaign Uses Graphic Images To Point Out The Damage That Plastic Pollution Has On The Ocean’s Wildlife
Extremely Rare White Giraffe With Ginger Mane Spotted In Tanzania
Unlikely Friendships
White Whales Perform in China
Cats Wearing Hats Made By his Owner From Their Own Hair
There’s A Species Of Wild Cats Where The Adults Look Like Kittens Their Entire Lives
Meet Cute Friendly Swimming Pigs In Bahamas
A Catlendar To Make You Smile All Year Round In 2016
When Dogs And Their Humans Become One By Isaac Alvarez
Rare Blue Whale Skeleton Unveiled At UK’s Natural History Museum
Two Charming Shepherd Dogs Enjoying In Flowers Of Holland
12 Hilariously Honest Dog Breed Slogans
Can You Count How Many Seals There Are Selling Seashells By The Seashore?
Now In Oregon You Can Have Llamas Dressed As A Bride And Groom Attend Your Wedding
There’s A ‘Sloth Institute’ Which Looks After Baby Sloths That Lost Their Moms
Photographer Takes Portraits of Black Shelter Cats Who Are Often the Last to Be Adopted
Here's A 3D Animal Print Underwear With Ears!
Meet the Charismatic Pug Norm
Melanie Faith Dove and Andrew Chapman – 'Working Dogs' Book
These Grey Whale Calves Love Posing For Their Close Ups As They Go Oh-So Close To Tourists
Fat Cat: Russian Artist Inserts Her Ginger Cat Zarathustra Into Iconic Paintings