With the largest concentrations of penguins, seals, and albatross to be found anywhere on the planet, South Georgia has been dubbed, “The Serengeti of the Southern Ocean.” And, while large birdlife usually takes center stage on South Georgia, the island was once a thriving small-bird community as well, comprised of storm petrels, prions, blue petrels, and pipits. However, with the introduction of rats by whalers and sealers, the small-bird population is being devastated as the rodents burrow into nests, eat the eggs, and kill young chicks.
When asked by the South Georgia Heritage Trust (SGHT) to help protect this island oasis, Zegrahm cofounder and the world’s leading seabird expert, Peter Harrison, enthusiastically took up the gauntlet and galvanized Zegrahm travelers during our 2011/2012 Antarctic season to contribute to the organization’s habitat restoration program. After only one year, Zegrahm travelers raised more than $150,000 towards the program. In recognition of this achievement, Peter and his wife, Shirley Metz (also a Zegrahm cofounder and the first woman to ski to the South Pole), were invited to a SGHT lunch at St. James Palace in London hosted by Anne, Princess Royal and Royal Patron for the Trust. On June 26, 2012, speaking in the splendid surroundings of the Queen Anne Room, the Princess thanked Zegrahm Expeditions for our outstanding efforts.