This South West corner of the Falkland archipelago is one of the best
natural resources the Falklands have. It is hoped, our work will assist
in developing plans for the management and conservation of this resource.
:: The Importance of New Island
The New Island reserve and its projects, now with over 30 years of wildlife
study and conservation experience behind it, plays a leading role in the
Falkland Islands' environmental protection efforts. The New Island Conservation
Trust operates the only purpose-designed site with established facilities
for field studies in the Falkland Islands. The legal status of New Island
as a research site is an important guarantee to the researchers who come
to work there. Long term research can be embarked upon with the knowledge
that projects are protected and will not be hindered by any change in
the property status.
New Island is an Important Bird Area, hosting the largest seabird colony
in the Falkland Islands. This is the most important nesting site in the
world for the Thin-billed prion Pachyptila belcheri (estimated
population of 2 million pairs on New Island). Thousands of the globally
threatened Black-browed Albatross Thalassarche melanophris and
Rockhopper Penguin Eudyptes chrysocome also nest here, and regionally
important populations of several other globally threatened (White-chinned
Petrel Procellaria aequinoctialis) and near-threatened species
(Gentoo penguin Pygoscelis papua, Magellanic penguin Spheniscus
magellanicus and Striated Caracara Phalcoboenus australis)
are also present, as well as one of the few South American Fur seal Arctocephalus
australis colonies found in the Falklands.
:: Before Conservation
Although New Island's coastal marine habitats are in a pristine state,
terrestrial habitats on the island have suffered from past depredations
caused by a multitude of man's interferences : stock grazing (ca. 1860
- 1973), burning of native vegetation, the whaling industry (based on
New Island between 1908 and 1916), sealing and penguin oiling (late 1800's),
egging (taking of wild penguin and albatross eggs) and the introduction
of non-native species such as cats and pigs, which were allowed to run
Sheep and cattle were completely removed from the Southern half of New
Island in 1978, but farming continued on the Northern half of the property
(originally owned by Roddy Napier, and subsequently by Tony Chater) for
approximately 26 years, albeit significantly reduced between 1986 and
2004. The Northern property was eventually purchased by the New Island
Conservation Trust in 2006 by which time no sheep remained on the Northern
property. National Nature Reserve status means that the island is now
entirely free of livestock.
:: The New Island Project
Conceived in 1972 by Ian Strange and Roddy Napier, the project aimed to
turn New Island into a reserve, and to introduce wildlife research and
eco-tourism to show their potential as forms of diversification for the
Falklands. The idea however, was a bold one - the Falklands in the 1970's
were a predominantly staunch sheep farming community and the project was
slow to develop, marred by politics and costly legal proceedings, but
the objective never changed.
Today New Island, its original project and the research carried out on
the reserve are recognised internationally and, under the New Island Conservation
Trust, the island and its diverse wildlife will remain protected.
|:: Papers are
periodically published in various Scientific Journals by our teams
For those who are interested in reading in depth about the scientific
studies carried out on New Island, a selection of these papers may
be downloaded and viewed in PDF format...
The Falkland Islands hold over 60% of the global breeding population
of Black-browed Albatross.
Aerial surveying has been carried out in the Islands by Ian Strange
since 1964 - results show a positive trend for this species...
:: A brief overview of New Island's history of research from
1975 to the present day
:: click here