1979 - Peter Scott sets up Foundation

Whilst visiting the Falkland Islands, Sir Peter Scott and other naturalists decided to set up a UK registered charity, The Falkland Islands Foundation (FIF), to protect the Islands’ wildlife and its historic wrecks.


Peter Scott (right) with Michael Wright, Ian and Maria Strange on New Island, 1979, discussing the formation of the new charity. (Philippa Scott)



1980 The Falkland Islands Trust (FIT) formed in the Islands.

1981 Twelve people are appointed to an Advisory Council, including Robin Woods, Julian Fitter and Ron Lewis Smith (who are still actively involved).

1982 Sir Peter Scott writes to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher to express concern that military activity may cause unnecessary damage Falklands' wildlife. He receives a sympathetic response.

 Following the Argentine invasion and defeat (14 June) submissions are made to the Shackleton Economic Study. The Foundation becomes a membership organisation.

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Peter Scott's letter and the Prime Minister's reply

1983 Simon Lyster is appointed part-time Secretary, based at WWF-UK. A report from Kevin Standring is commissioned on conservation issues after the Conflict outlining 20 Projects. First Newsletter issued. Robin Woods launches the Breeding Birds Survey, promoted locally Tom Davies, Chairman FIT.

1984 A wildlife poster is produced with the Ministry of Defence. The Foundation buys 7 islands in Falkland Sound and leases 9 islands around New Island from the Royal Society for Nature Conservation. Free-for-all fishing takes place in adjacent waters – 48 vessels within 150 miles. The wreck of the St Mary surveyed.

1985 FC acquires Outer NW Island and 2 islets on lease from Robert Gibbons. Preservation work on wreck of the Jhelum planned.

1986 Falkland Islands Conservation Zone is established for fishing waters around the Islands. Unexplained penguin deaths cause concern. A major Seabird Project begins, funded by the Falkland Islands Government and is undertaken by Kate Thompson and Dann Hale. Roger Wilson becomes Secretary in November 1986. FIF joins IUCN, the World Conservation Union. Sir Peter Scott stands down as Chairman and is succeeded by Sir Rex Hunt. First 'Trust News' produced.

1987 Fishing is controlled within the FICZ. Tourist information panels put up at Lodges. Tussac Islands survey started. 

1988 Dr Kate Thompson becomes Assistant Secretary, part of her time to be spent in the Islands. FC’s North Island struck by lightning. Penguin deaths in 1986 are attributed to a food shortage at a critical period of annual cycle in the research report An Investigation of Rockhopper Penguin Mortality in the Falklands during 1985-1986 Breeding Season by Dr Ian Keymer.

1989 Colin Phipps becomes Chairman. The booklets 'Wild Flowers of the Falkland Islands', 'Those were the Days' and the report An Assessment of the Potential for Competition between Seabirds and Fisheries in the Falkland Islands are published.

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(a) Breeding survey launched 1983. (b) The first in a series of Teachers' Notes produced 1984. (c) Kate Thompson measures an albatross chick as part of new seabird research programme. Tui de Roy 1986. (d) The report Tussac Grass in the Falklands is published 1988.



1990 Beauchêne Island is visited for the first time by FC to monitor seabird populations. Dr Kate Thompson becomes Secretary. Squid fishery investigations take place. Wild Flower survey planned. Lord Buxton is appointed President.

1991Falklands Conservation is formally launched on 1 August by Sir David Attenborough, following a merger between FIF and FIT. A conservation video 'Preserving the Falklands' is produced with the Falkland Islands Tourist Board. Carol Miller appointed as FI Secretary. First issue of FC magazine The Warrah appeared in November. 


Launch of Falklands Conservation with Sir David Attenborough (left), Dr Kate Thompson, and Sir Rex Hunt

1992 HRH The Duke of York becomes Patron. A desk study on potential Ramsar sites in the Falklands (sites of international wetlands importance) is undertaken for the UK Dept of Environment. Tony Stones becomes Secretary in UK. Professor. John Croxall is appointed Chairman

1993 Wildlife id sheets for junior schoolchildren produced. Kate Thompson leaves in June. A full-time Conservation Officer is appointed based in Stanley and Ann Brown appointed UK Secretary. Increasing tourism begins to raise questions about wildlife disturbance and site protection. First community beach clean is held at Hadassa Bay, Port William, on 18 March. Jeremy Smith starts work as a seasonal Field Science Officer.

1994 A Wildlife of the Southern Oceans painting exhibition held in London to raise funds. A Gypsy Cove trail guide produced. Let's Look at Wild Flowers of the Falkland Islands educational pack, written by Sally Poncet, is produced for the Stanley Community School.

1995 The Sea Mammal Research Unit is contracted to undertake a survey of the Falklands' population of the Southern Sea Lion. Penguin Appeal reaches £140,500.

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(a) North Island - one of nine islands (previously leased) donated freehold to Falklands Conservation by the Royal Society for Nature Conservation, 1993. (b) Bill Oddie launches Penguin Appeal at London Zoo, 1993 (c) Motley and Middle Islands purchased 1994. Robin Woods, with a team from the Britannia Royal Naval College, surveys Motley.

1996 The first Island wide penguin census (Gentoo, Rockhopper and King) is carried out. A coastal baseline study is undertaken prior to hydrocarbon exploration.


Deaths of Black-browed Albatrosses by long-lining in the Patagonian Shelf area are noted for the first time.

FC becomes an Associate of BirdLife Internationalfeatured-birdlife

1997 A recovery plan for Felton’s Flower is developed. Jeremy Smith is appointed Conservation Officer and Rebecca Ingham joins the staff as Field Science Officer. The Stanley office moves to new premises on Ross Road. 


Results of the Breeding Bird Survey are published in Robin & Anne Woods' Atlas of Breeding Birds of the Falkland Islands.

1998 Seabirds at Sea Team (SAST) Programme begins to collect data on the distribution of seabirds and marine mammals in the waters surrounding the Islands. Undertaken for its first 3 years under contract by JNCC, this Programme set out to inform offshore oil development. Outer & Double Islands purchased. Falklands Conservation changes from a trust to a company limited by guarantee and decides to drop preservation of historic wrecks from its active work programmes. Moore's Plantain is recognised as new endemic plant. Penguin migration movements in winter are investigated. The website is on line for the first time.

1999 Mitigation measures begin to be investigated in the light of continued and increasing seabird mortality as recorded by the SAST. The Native Plants Survey launched with FC working through a Darwin Initiative funded plants programme. The WATCH Group launched for junior members.

Following extensive advice and preparation of draft legislation by FC, the Conservation of Wildlife & Nature Ordinance came into force on 1 November 1999 extending, updating and revising previous nature conservation laws.

 Becky Ingham was appointed Conservation Officer and Dr Andrea Clausen joins FC as Field Science Officer. FC joins the UK Overseas Territories Conservation Forum. RPSB officers visit the Falklands to help and advise on development plan. Staff receive training in Oil Spill Management.

2000 Flowering Plants of the Falkland Islands is published. A second census of Falkland penguins is carried out showing an increase in numbers. Research into the impact of the cruise-ship industry is undertaken by Debbie Summers. The SW Atlantic Marine Environment Conference is held in London. Endemic Cobb's Wren population estimates increased in light of visits to offshore islands.  A census of the Falklands' black-browed albatrosses showed a population decline of 17,000 pairs per year from 1995/96. The Falkland Islands National Herbarium is set up.

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(a) Black-browed albatross numbers decrease in the Islands. (b) The Falkland Island National Herbarium is set up. Robin Woods, who donated many of the initial specimens, working on the collection in Stanley. (c) FC lead the Seabirds at Sea Team with appointment of Dr Ben Sullivan (shown here) and Tim Reid. (d) A Visitor's Guide to the Falkland Islands is published. L-R, Robin Woods, Debbie Summers (author), Becky Ingham, and Ben Fogle.

2001 Tussac restoration work begins at Port Harriet. The last issue of the Warrah is published in May and first issue of Wildlife Conservation in the Falkland Islands published in October. A survey to locate Felton's Flower in the wild is undertaken, sponsored by the Friends of Kew. Falkland Islands Countryside Code produced by FC. South Jason Island severely burnt by fire. FC takes action to highlight fire danger and the need to issue guidelines to the military. First Volunteer Point wardens in place. Rat eradication programme takes place on Top and Bottom and Outer and Double Islands. We move new offices to the Jetty Visitor Centre, Stanley.

2002 A survey is conducted of Hill Cove Mountains and Forest for first FI National Park designation. The Red Data List of Threatened Falkland Plants is published. Survey of Falkland invertebrates started in spring 2002, and many new species found. First Conservation Charity Ball in Stanley raises £8,000. Robin Woods appointed Chairman.       

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(a) Our Patron, HRH The Duke of York, visits the Falkland Islands in 2002 and launches our King Penguin Adoption scheme. WATCH Group members present him with two penguins for his daughters. (b) British Divers Marine Mammal Medics visit in 2002 to train FC staff and local volunteers techniques for rescuing stranded cetaceans. (c) Thistle clearance at Saunders Islands 2003.

2003 Rats cleared from 305ha North East Island. Collection of FI native seeds begun as part of the UK Millennium Seed Bank project. Collection of albatross eggs becomes illegal. Survey of Bleaker Island with the British Schools Exploring Society. Action on invasive plants was begun with clearance of thistles on Saunders Island. Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning kills thousands of seabirds due to a red algal bloom in December 2002 and January 2003. Gentoo and rockhopper penguin populations are affected, particularly at colonies in the north-west of the Falkland Islands.


(a) A dead Gentoo penguin at Fox Bay. Many adult penguins died December 2002 January 2003 due to a harmful algal bloom. Kevin Schafer . Poisonous red algal bloom with aircraft shadow showing scale. (b) In 2004 FC celebrated the 25th anniversary of its founding in 1979. (c) Insects of the Falkland Islands, by Dr Alex Jones  is published. (d) In 2004 16,500 juvenile Black-browed albatrosses are orange-marked with a temporary dye on Steeple Jason in April to find out where they go when they fledge from FI colonies

2004 Falkland Islands Government adopts the FC prepared National Plan of Action for Seabirds. Small Grants Scheme launched for local conservation projects. Cetacean Watch launched. Darwin Initiative provides funding for a three-year invertebrates research project. FC becomes Partner-designate in Birdlife International and takes part in BirdLife's global meeting. We become an associate member of International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators. A major new project is launched, funded by the Overseas Territories Environment Programme, the Albatross and Petrel Conservation Programme. A major review of staff and re-organisation of structure leads to the creation of five permanent and full time posts in the Stanley Office: Director, Secretary, Science Officer, Community Conservation Officer and Conservation Officer.

2005 A series of leaflets on key wildlife sites produced. A two-year education project starts, working with Falkland schools to produce teaching materials on native wildlife and local environmental issues. Island-wide surveys (conducted every five years) of albatrosses and penguins reveal further declines in numbers, but a huge reduction in seabird mortality in Falkland waters following introduction of mitigation measures, trialled by Falklands Conservation. New Breeding Birds Survey is launched.

2006 In March Falklands Conservation hosted an international Workshop 'Albatross and Petrels in the South Atlantic: Conservation Priorities'. This gathering brought together 35 experts and key players from the UK’s South Atlantic Overseas Territories and representatives from neighbouring countries. An at sea observer was employed to check on the effectiveness and use of seabird mitigation devices and monitor by-catch within the Loligo (squid) and finfish trawlers in Falkland waters. In November a repeat census of the rare Striated Caracara was conducted, following the initial count in 1997. The Important Bird Areas of the Falkland Islands is published - this details 22 sites which qualify as IBAs under international criteria.

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(a)The second edition of A Visitor's Guide to the Falkland Islands is published in 2005. (b) A 2004/05 survey of Southern giant petrels highlights the importance of the Falkland Islands for this species. (c) An international workshop on the conservation of albatrosses and petrels is hosted by FC in 2006. (d) The directory Important Bird Areas of the Falkland Islands was published and a copy presented to the Governor, His Excellency Mr Alan Huckle (centre in photo) i 2006. (e) Jubilee Villas, our new offices in Stanley from 2007.

2007 A series of practical conservation leaflets were published covering Marine Mammal Rescue, Tussac Grass Planting and Management, Management and Removal of Invasive Plants, and Wild Bird Rescue. We also published a Falkland Island Penguin Arts and Crafts book for children. In August we purchased our own premises in Stanley, two of the historic terrace of Jubilee Villas on the harbour front. A long-term albatross demographic programme was started on Steeple Jason Island. A two-year Plants Project started in collaboration with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. We help and support implementation the EU South Atlantic Invasive Species Project. Our Falkland Islands Invertebrates Conservation Project finished in August 2007. During its three-year term, over 100 new records were added to previously know species lists.

2008 An international workshop was held in Edinburgh, Scotland, to investigate the continued decline of rockhopper penguin populations.  Funds were received from the Overseas Territories Environment Programme to commence a Shallow Marine Survey in partnership with the Falkland Islands Shallow Marine Survey Group. An oiled wildlife contingency plan is drafted after the sinking of a fishing trawler in Berekeley Sound and the subsequent rehabilitation of oiled gentoo penguins. A review and update of the FIG National Plan of Action for Seabirds and Trawlers is progressed.

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(a) Population declines of rockhopper penguins discussed at international workshop in 2008 which led to the OTEP funded rockhopper project 2009 - 2012. (b) Shallow Marine Survey Group commence in 2008. (c) Seabird interactions reviewed in the National Plan of Action for seabirds in the trawl fishery. (d) Oiled wildlife contingency plans drafted in 2008 and adopted by FIG in 2010. (e) Centenary year of Cobb's wren in 2009.

2009 was the 100th anniversary of the naming of Cobb’s wren, one of two endemic birds found in the Falkland Islands. At the request of the Falkland Islands Government, a Species Action Plan was produced. A Flagship Species for Cobb’s wren project was undertaken to survey, monitor and eradicate rats from offshore islands. Our WATCH Group for children aged 7 –14 years celebrated its first 10 years. It now involves 50 young members from Stanley in a full programme of wildlife activities and field trips. The OTEP funded Rockhopper Penguin Study, based on Steeple Jason Island, commenced to investigate foraging patterns and diet both through the winter and in the breeding season. A Native Plants Programme was launched. This will establish a native plant nursery in Stanley, progress designation of Important Plant Areas, implement plant and habitat action plans and set up long term plant monitoring systems.

2010 saw the 4th Falkland Island Wide Seabird Surveys - in 28 days, over 300,000 penguins and 400,000 albatross pairs surveyed by a 12 person team. Completion of the 6 month scoping project on birds of prey and livestock interactions. In collaboration with FIG Department of Agriculture, FC sets up restoration trials on two recently cleared mine fields near Stanley.  A tussac restoration project is also initiated at Cape Pembroke. FC participated in the first World Seabird Conference held in Canada in September. A severe storm in December caused mass nest failure of seabirds breeding at Beauchêne and Steeple Jason. 


(a) Native Plants Programme launched in 2009. (b) The 4th Falkland Islands Survey of Seabirds indicates gentoo numbers have increased from the previous census in 2005 (c) Striated caracara is tagged as part of the raptor and livestock interaction assessment in 2010. (d) Native plants are sold as garden plants for locals as part of the Native Plants Programme in 2011. (e) Southern sea lion, one of the marine species being satellite tracked as a part of a new multi-species tracking programme in 2011.

2011 A multi-species tracking programme, in collaboration with British Antarctic Survey and help from WWF, is initiated to identify the critical foraging habitats of Falkland Islands key marine predators starting with southern sea lions, rockhopper penguins and king penguins. This programme aims to reveal foraging hotspots and ultimately enhance protection for key marine species. In association with the Royal Kew Botanical Gardens and FC’s Native Plants Programme, Stanley Nursery sells first native plants at a farmers market in March.