Since 2011, I have been spending November to April each year working for the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) on Signy Island in the South Orkney Islands, Antarctica. I work as a Zoological Field Assistant on the penguin and seal long-term monitoring programme. Before this, I spent 2.5 years on the sub-Antarctic island of Bird Island, South Georgia, in the South Atlantic.

This blog gives readers an insight into my day-to-day life in the Antarctic, from my first trip south in 2008 to the present day.

Friday, 1 December 2017

Antarctica Day

Happy Antarctica Day!

December 1st is Antarctica Day.  This day celebrates the signing of the Antarctic Treaty on 1st December 1959.  The Antarctic Treaty, signed by 48 nations is a perfect example of global cooperation between nations, designating the whole of Antarctica as a "natural reserve, devoted to peace and science".  The treaty sets aside all claims of territorial ownership by the various nations, and prohibits military activities and mineral extraction.  Conventions passed by the treaty nations protect the Antarctic as a whole, enhancing scientific discovery, monitoring the status of the continent and its wildlife (my job) and regulating fishing and tourism to sustainable levels. The treaty has resulted in successful cooperation between all nations, working together for the greater good and is as strong now as when it was first signed.  

If you are interested, more information (an interesting read) can be found at https://www.bas.ac.uk/about/antarctica/the-antarctic-treaty/the-antarctic-treaty-explained/ 

It seems a shame to me that we can't use this as a model for the rest of the world!

We can't celebrate Antarctica Day without some penguins, so here are a few pictures.  The Adelies are currently still incubating and the colonies are clean and tidy with each bird sitting on their nest of pebbles, patiently waiting for their eggs to hatch.

Its a long job, so snoozing is often a good way to pass the time...

Yesterday when I went to visit my study birds, it was exceedingly windy and the birds had all turned themselves round to face the wind.  This made them look particularly neat and tidy.

From the front the Adelies look rather intimidating!  Not something to be messed with.  Especially the one in the middle of the picture!


The first egg was just showing signs of hatching yesterday with a pea-sized hole in the shell and a tiny beak showing through.  It will hatch fully today- what better day to arrive into the world than on Antarctica Day!

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