And now some good news about penguins

The Adélie penguin has long been viewed as in rapid decline, largely because of the number of shrinking and abandoned penguin colonies around the Antarctic peninsula. But it appears that the penguin may not be declining so much as changing address. According to this WSJ article, the penguin has actually increased in numbers globally: The … Read more

Japan must halt whaling, court says

This is great news: An international court has ordered Japan to revoke whaling permits in the Antarctic and stop granting new ones. The country’s government had argued that hunting whales was part of a research program, but the International Court of Justice ruled Monday that Japan hasn’t generated enough scientific research to justify killing hundreds … Read more

Penguins vs. climate change

We all know or should know by now that polar bears are suffering from reduced ice up north. But few people know about what’s happening to penguins down south. If you have a spare 10 minutes, listen to this interview with Dee Boersma on her recent study about Magellanic Penguins  in Punta Tombo, Argentina. I … Read more

Bycatch is destroying seabird populations — and that includes penguins

A recent study reported on in the New York Times found that 400,000 seabirds are getting killed each year by gillnets — those long nets used by fishing vessels. And you can add roughly 160,000 additional seabirds that are hooked by longlines. In short, modern fishing practices are destroying the oceans and its creatures. From … Read more

The United States vs. The Sea Shepherd Society

I can’t say I’m surprised this day would come. When I began writing The Tourist Trail in 2008 I envisioned the FBI going after the leader of a fictional anti-whaling group. At the time, the US was largely neutral about the goings-on in the Southern Ocean. This was a matter between the Sea Shepherd and … Read more

Climate change, not tourism, is hurting chinstrap penguins

Tourism and its impact on endangered species is, not surprisingly, one of the themes of The Tourist Trail. It’s not a simple issue. In the case of the Magellanic penguin colony at Punta Tombo, more than 100,000 tourists now visit the site annually, which can (and sometimes does) overwhelm the birds. But the fact that so … Read more

The more we study whales, the more unique they get

This is about as close to a humpback whale as I’ve come. In the waters off the Antarctic Peninsula. These are good waters for a whale, rich in food and largely devoid of ships. Whales, for reasons we still don’t understand, are often injured by ships. And as large as whales are, they are no … Read more

South Korea blames whales for depleting fish stocks (so naturally it plans to hunt whales)

Just when I begin to think that wiser heads will prevail around the world and whale hunting will become a thing of the past, another country decides to revive its whaling industry. This time the country is South Korea. According to the New York Times, South Korea wants to start whaling again using the same … Read more

The Albatross of Prion Island

Prion Island is a small island just off the coast of South Georgia, a much-larger island probably best known as the resting place of Ernest Shackleton. It’s not easy to get to Prion Island, nor cheap. You need a boat to get you there, typically an Antarctic tourism vessel. I hope to visit these parts … Read more