Falkland Islands

Falkland Islands flag

A Land of Penguins and Sheep





Link to map: http://www.offshore-mag.com/content/dam/offshore/print-articles/Volume%2072/feb/falk1-1202off.jpg

PRAYING FOR THE PEOPLE OF THE WORLD ONE COUNTRY AT A TIME – This week we are praying for The Falkland Islands, which are near the coat of Argentina. There were no indigenous residents prior to various Europeans laying claim, starting with the British in 1765. The French and Spanish periodically put up garrisons and landed their ships. The Argentine military attempted to establish sovereignty in 1832 through military power, but the Royal Navy evicted them in a matter of months. Stanley was established as the capital in 1845. The islands were at peace until April 1982, when the Argentinian military invaded, claiming sovereignty on the basis of “inheriting” in the early 1800’s the islands they called “Malvinas.” The British claim the islands based on the fact that most residents are of British descent and Britain has ruled the islands for over 200 years. After a loss of 1000 lives among the Falkland Island residents, the British military and Argentine military, in 74 days the British were back on control.

Commercial fishing and sheep raising are major occupations, and the island is self-sufficient and self-governing on all matters except foreign affairs and defense, which are British responsibilities. They put in place a new constitution in 2009 to reinforce self-government powers. The people on the island represent some 60 nations as homelands. There are about 2600 residents on 4700 square miles of land which is made up of two main islands and a large number of tiny archipelagos.

The terrain is almost treeless. The only native land mammal (looked like a medium-large dog) was the ‘warrah’, which is now extinct. There are birds of prey called the Striated Caracara. There are also many species of other birds for which the variety of grasses provide habitat. The plastic-like Bolax Gummifera is another prominent ground cover. The Falklands are known for penguins. There are five penguin species breeding on the islands: king penguins, rockhopper penguins, magellanic penguins, gentoo penguins, and macaroni penguins. Approximately 494,500 breeding pairs are thought to live on the island, 500 of which are king penguins.

The Falklands Islands are feeling stress of climate change. They have over 136 years of records. Rainfall has declined and temperatures are rising, which affects vegetation. Rises in ocean temperature are affecting the penguin population and putting them at risk.

The Falkland residents live an outdoor lifestyle, enjoying sailing, motocross, golf, target shooting, archery, cricket and soccer and many more familiar British and European sports. Most residents claim Christianity. They have one newspaper and one radio station. The government publishes a website and has a Twitter account.

Sources: http://www.kew.org/science-conservation/research-data/science-directory/projects/impacts-climate-change-on-terrestrial; http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-18425572; http://www.falklands.gov.fk/; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falkland_Islands