FALLOUT: Penguin Population Explosion

Animals, War

The Falkland Islands (or the Islas Malvinas, depending on where your political loyalties lie) are a group of 200 islands off the coast of Argentina, the seat of much tension over the past few decades. Historically, the English islands were a quiet place until Argentine President Leopoldo Galiteri decided that the solution to his rock-bottom popularity ratings was to launch a military campaign to reclaim them.

The move worked for a while, the anti-junta demonstrations changing to pro-war demonstrations almost overnight, until England retaliated with a full military fleet to regain control, killing 1000 Argentine soldiers. In just a decade, the islands’ penguin population plummeted from 6 million to 1 million.

But war brings with it landmines. Landmines that are still scattered around the shore, leaving the remaining penguins unharmed because they are too light to set them off, but acting like a barrier between the penguins and pesky visitors. War also causes political tension, which has resulted in a complete lack of oil drilling in the area by either country (even though an estimated 11 billion of barrels of oil lie in the area) protecting the penguins from crude oil spills. As a result, the penguin population is finally on the rise again. If you're a penguin, maybe some sabre rattling isn't too bad after all.


Image: Andrew Cheal via Creative Commons
FALLOUT is a series of blog posts that explore the side-effects of war.