More Incredible Encounters For Dr Anne In The Polar Realm

 In Dr Anne Small
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Penguins and a whale of a time were all part of the icy scenery as Dr Anne from Moonee Ponds MindBody Health Centre continued her journey sailing the Antarctic.

With Dr Anne on a mission to promote the animal welfare volunteer organisation ‘For the Love Of Wildlife’ (FLOW) and the message that wildlife needs protection everywhere on the planet, it was indeed a fabulous day on December 27 when she saw some of the local inhabitants in their element.

It made taking her travelling companion, Leona the toy lioness, all the more rewarding to symbolise that no matter what the animal on land, water or in the air, each have their own part to play in the way the world works in harmony.

But to begin with, when they arrived at Useful Island, apparently Leona decided she did not want to climb the hill … so Dr Anne says, so the group went on a Zodiac cruise instead with Grigory, the lovely Russian team member.

Dr Anne writes: We had a fabulous encounter with an estimated 1,000 Gentoo penguins swimming in a large circle, twisting and turning and bobbing up and down. Grigory explained that the penguins did this to help shed their moulting feathers, which they have to do every year. Having never seen this process before, we were excited … even more so when we saw a Minke whale circling the penguins.

Back on board the ship, 70 of the 127 passengers did the Polar Plunge but with the temperature at 1.9 degrees, there were a lot of very cold people on board that afternoon, but Leona apparently decided it was much too cold to do it.

After lunch we did a Zodiac cruise off the west side of the Melchior Islands where the swell from the Drake Passage provided some scary boat surfing moments, almost crashing into the sharp long points of rock.

After dinner was the auction to raise money for Penguin Watch – a British charity combining scientists and volunteers in different capacities to monitor penguin numbers for over a decade now. See www.penguinwatch.org.uk for more details.

In the Antarctic over the last 12 years, the numbers of Gentoo and Emperor penguins are increasing. However, over the same period, the numbers of Adelie, Chinstrap, King and Macaroni penguins have significantly decreased by an estimated 39%!

This decrease, they believe, is due to the over-fishing of krill by commercial fishermen and by pirates. Krill is found in many supplements and cosmetics. However, it has become clear to scientists that the fishing of krill is unsustainable which is having a detrimental effect on penguins and other marine wildlife.

After the auction, Leona had drinks with some of her favourite Expedition Team members – Neil, then Paola and Marla. Dr Anne made sure Leona was in full promotional swing, wearing her tailor-made coat emblazoned with the noble lion logo of For the Love Of Wildlife (FLOW).

Whether it’s the decreasing number of some breeds of penguins due to krill fishing, or the damaging effects that canned hunting has on the lion population in the wild, FLOW suggests anyone can act today by writing or calling your local Member of government and asking them where animals rate on their agenda.

For the Love Of Wildlife has worked with a number of politicians but mostly with Federal Member Jason Wood, who championed the issue of captive breeding and canned hunting of Africa’s lions with then Environment Minister, Greg Hunt.  This resulted in the Federal Government banning the importation of lion trophies and body parts, a global first and followed by France and the Netherlands with the US implementing strict import laws.

FLOW’s current focus is the unregulated domestic trade in elephant ivory and rhino horn in Australia which is allowing the opportunity for illegal and recently poached items to be sold throughout markets. All trade creates demand and the decimation of elephants and rhinos requires global political will. Again this work is a focus for Jason Wood MP, who has been instrumental in the formation of a Parliamentary Inquiry into the trade.

For more details about For the Love Of Wildlife, founded by the passionate Donalea Patman who is Dr Anne’s longtime friend, visit www.fortheloveofwildlife.org.au

 

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