From time to time oiled birds do show up, particularly penguins which need to be treated. Even normally rare species in the Falklands, like Chinstrap penguins, have turned up oiled. We have successfully treated and released Gentoo, King, Rockhopper and Chinstrap Penguins. We also treat injured birds such as Giant Petrels, Black-browed Albatross and other small petrels that have been found in need of some help. We rely heavily on volunteers for their time looking after the birds and fish donations from local fishing companies.
Our philosophy with wildlife is to let nature take its course and not to disturb. However when man-made threats (such as oil pollution or marine debris) impact on wildlife we have the moral responsibility to step in and reduce the impacts to the best of our ability.
Community led project to build a wildlife rehabilitation facility for the Falkland Islands.
For every one person in the Falklands there are at least 350 penguins and that is not including all the other seabirds and land birds found across the 750 islands that make up the archipelago. The odds are then, that if there was a wildlife emergency the local population and resources would soon be stretched. Luckily, the Falklands have not seen any major incidences involving large numbers of distressed wildlife but from time to time we do get oiled or injured birds turning up, especially penguins. With the will in the community to do the best to help these wildlife patients recover and be released again to wild, the major factor holding us back was a dedicated indoor facility. An old tin shed was being used to house the wildlife patients but it had no electricity or running water making the job challenging and freezing in the winter. In 2008, the British Forces South Atlantic Islands (BFSAI) offered to help, fund raise and donate some unused building units. These would soon become the hub of the wildlife facility. Morrison Falklands Ltd quickly came on board with the project kindly donating their time to prepare the concrete foundation blocks and a team of men to crane the building units into place and assemble them at their new site behind the island’s veterinary department. The job took just over 2 days, but with this huge task completed by Morrison Ltd, it meant Falklands Conservation could now work on re-fitting the interior to the purpose of a wildlife facility, including building in an outdoor pool.
Since the project, the facility has seen a number of patients including a King Penguin. Although there are still a few more jobs to be completed the whole experience of caring and rehabilitating wildlife has radically changed for the better, with a large indoor pen area, electricity and running water, space for freezers, sinks and even a heated room for the wildlife. The facility will now be integral to any response to any injured or oiled wildlife emergencies thanks to the support from the local community.
The Oiled Wildlife facility with a King Penguin in residence (December 2013)