There is a fascinating and abundant range of wildlife and plant life in the Falkland Islands, found in the many areas of unspoiled, natural landscape.
The deep waters of the South Atlantic are rich in marine life, key to the survival of a variety of species breeding on the archipelago. Over half the breeding birds on the Islands (there are over 60 different breeding species) are largely dependent on the sea for food.
There are five different species of breeding penguin in the Falkland Islands (rockhopper, magellanic, gentoo, king and macaroni). These are perhaps the most striking species of bird life in the Islands. The Islands are the most important world site for the endangered rockhopper penguin and are also home to 80% of the world’s breeding population of black-browed albatross, although most of the major colonies are remote and inaccessible. Several rare and threatened species of petrel nest on offshore islands.
The elephant seal, sea lion and fur seal all breed on the Islands. Whilst elephant seals and sea lions are widespread and accessible, the only really accessible place to observe the fur seal is on New Island. Very rarely, seals found breeding in Antarctic waters occur on Falkland Island shorelines, most notably leopard seals as well as ross seals. The largest elephant seal breeding site is found on Sea Lion Island, where there are over 2000 individuals.
Porpoise and dolphin are often seen from the shoreline. Sightings and strandings of whales are now regularly reported as numbers continue to grow. Orcas, sei whales and sperm whales are the most abundant.
In places where there are fresh water ponds, especially near the coast, the upland goose and the ruddy-headed or “Brent” goose have contributed to the formation of fine green grass by their continued cropping. Silver teal, chiloe wigeon, white-tufted grebe and other species frequent such areas too.
There are over 400 species of plant in the Falkland Islands, of which 177 are recorded as native and 14 endemic to the Islands.