Thursday, April 3, 2008

Unusual conservation tool

I was reading about research on the clearing of land mines for a different class when I came across this interesting story from the Falkland Islands. During the 1982 Falklands War parts of the island were heavily mined by the Argentinean forces. It is estimated that 25 years later 25,000 land mines still remain. However the locals are in no hurry to get rid of them. In contrast to the situation in many Asian and African countries the remaining mines are in well fenced and sign posted areas and are proving to be a haven for penguins and other wildlife.

One of their favourite spots is on the mined side of fences with "Danger Mines" and skull and crossbones signs. Tourists are kept on the safe side of the fence, allowing the nervous, partner-seeking penguins to forget about encroaching humans. "The gentoos come up on Kidney Cove and can rest there because it is in a minefield," said Adrian Lowe, who runs penguin safaris on his family farm. "It is their natural habitat. Only the minefield fences are man-made."

An interesting technique but only recommended for relatively small species of penguin.....

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