UK Overseas Territory (OT) Governments are constitutionally responsible for the protection and conservation of their natural environments. Through the UK Government-funded Overseas Territory Environment and Climate Fund (Darwin Plus) we have committed approximately £5.2 million since 2012 to supporting environment projects in the OTs. A number of these have helped to conserve penguins.
Darwin Plus has funded projects to create a regional database of penguin tracking data, population analysis and modelling and to deploy autonomous camera units to monitor penguin populations in the British Antarctic Territory and South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands.
In addition, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office recently funded a project led by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds to carry out the first ever stocktake of species in the OTs. The study, completed between January 2013 and March 2014, with further work in 2015, brought together all known species records and conservation assessments. Although only a few OTs have permanent penguin populations, it found that the islands of the OTs include more penguins than any other nation on earth, holding an estimated 36% of the world’s population of southern rockhopper penguins and 34% of gentoo penguins.