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So Much More than Penguins

October 02, 2015

Bristow rearcrew members Marty Davis and Simon Worth regularly volunteer at the Falklands Conservation in between their search and rescue missions while based in the Islands and find the rewards of their work extend way beyond conservation.

"I'm really interested in the wildlife and habitat here in the Falklands, and doing voluntary work for Falklands Conservation seemed like a great way to explore the Islands, meet new people and learn about South Atlantic birds, plants and mammals," said Marty Davis, Bristow Falkland Islands rearcrew. "I'm also a keen photographer, so joining Falklands Conservation has given me the chance to get some great photos of wildlife.

"We have reported sightings of rare species, such as the leopard seal, which I found hauled up on a rocky beach near Port Stanley," said Davis.

Falklands Conservation works to protect endangered and vulnerable species such as the Southern Rockhopper penguins and black-browed Albatross, carries out a range of research and conservation projects, and works with local landowners and community members to empower local people to deliver the Falkland Islands Biodiversity Strategy. The group tries to prevent extinctions by removing non-native species and restoring damaged habitats and works in partnership with many local and international organizations to build awareness of the Falklands wealth of biodiversity.

Helping out in a variety of ways, Davis and Worth have been planting tussac grass in coastal areas with soil erosion, which offers shelter to seals, birds and small mammals, and washing and feeding rescued oiled penguins. The two volunteer their skills a few times every month.

"The best part about volunteering is getting out into the wilderness and seeing the natural environment and the creatures that live here. Equally best is getting right in amongst the community and meeting the local people who live and work down here full-time. The worst thing," Davis added, "is probably the mud. It covers vehicles completely when driving off road - you can sometimes only see out of the front windscreen - every other window is completely clarted in mud! It is a skill to learn how to exit a vehicle without getting similarly daubed in mud and dirt! Occasionally, the vehicles get bogged down and then it becomes really dirty and sweaty work to pull them out!"