Walking on Landmines


There is a beach on the Falkland Islands that is kah-uvered in penguins (or penglings, if you’re Cumberbatch). The adorable little penguins have been able to survive because they seem to be too light to set off the mines. They just run around and live the life of happy little penguins. So adorable!

The whimsical state of these beaches were brought on by some shitty circumstances. There was a war in 1982 in which the Argentinian government attempted to take back the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas) from the British. It led to a horrible series of battles that took many lives. The siege included quite a bit of naval offence and defense. The beaches were turned hostile by the Argentinians who blanketed them in land mines.

The land mines remain today and the beaches sit empty with fences and signs warning of the danger. Well, they aren’t empty at all actually. They are covered in happy, safe penguins. They have their own protected land to do whatever the hell it is that penguins do all day. Probably, write poems about the sea and tell stories to their nestlings about brave penguins past.

The island had a penguin population sitting around 10 million and 5 species before humans settled in and knocked the population down to around 1 million. With the inadvertent nature preserves, the sinking population has a chance to bounce back. The downside of maintaining the minefields is that they are still minefields. There are efforts underway to remove the mines. The British government agreed to the 1997 Ottawa Mine Ban Treaty which makes them responsible for clearing mines from their territories. The current population would rather the ecosystem and penguins not be disrupted. But their government is obligated to clear them. So, we’ll just have to wait and see how the penguins are doing once people and other animals can get back on the beaches. Good luck, little pengwings!