South Georgia is a place of extremes; breathtakingly beautiful but also a place where nature was exploited on a monumental scale. Humankind’s former view of the natural world as a resource to be plundered is changing to an attitude of long-term environmental stewardship and care, as evidenced by the thousands who supported the SGHT and FOSGI Habitat Restoration Project. Our cultural heritage initiatives will serve to inspire visitors and the wider public. The human story of South Georgia will be told through engaging displays that explore how, by learning from the past, we are able to better understand and protect the natural environment through research and environmental management. The buildings that were home to an industry that exploited South Georgia’s wildlife will now attract support for initiatives to protect the future of that wildlife, inspiring the island’s visitors to become environmental advocates.
Read more about our projects below and find out how to support our work here.
Biosecurity – Keeping Rats and Mice out of South Georgia: Now that South Georgia is rodent-free it is vital that the island has strengthened biosecurity measures to ensure that vessels entering the maritime zone do not re-infest the island with rodents. We are once again supporting a GSGSSI trial of rodent detection dogs who are searching ships bound for South Georgia; we also plan to support the building of a special biosecurity facility for unpacking and checking shipboard containers headed for South Georgia.
Albatrosses: We are supporting a project to identify the marine areas and fishing fleets that are the highest contributors to the ongoing bycatch-related decline in populations of South Georgia wandering, grey-headed and black-browed albatrosses. The project will develop joint solutions with the target fleets and is also developing new approaches to highlight the plight of South Georgia albatrosses.
Southern Right Whales: We are supporting field expeditions to gather knowledge on the southern right whales which feed off South Georgia, to establish patterns of habitat use and diversity, in addition to whale identity procedures, to inform environmental management that will help the population recover to pre-whaling levels.
Whale Sightings: To view a plot of cetacean sightings at South Georgia from 1991 to the present day, click here. The sightings are based on historical records at South Georgia Museum and Bird Island, as well as recent reports by visitors who record sightings in the museum’s whale log.
The plot was prepared by Jessica Richardson of Duke University in collaboration with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Details of a paper published on the whale research from South Georgia Museum and Bird Island records can be found in the final article on the Inter-Research Endangered Species Research page.
Cultural Heritage & Museum
South Georgia Archaeology: The is a multi-year archaeological project in partnership with the Cambridge Archaeological Unit (University of Cambridge) to investigate and document South Georgia’s archaeology, beginning with the remains of the 19th century sealing industry and the early impact on South Georgia’s ecology of these sealers, the island’s first human inhabitants. (February & March 2019) Cultural Heritage and Museum at Grytviken: We have plans to open up the Main Store to South Georgia’s visitors for the first time. The Main Store is one of the few original and largely untouched buildings from the time of whaling at Grytviken. Working with GSGSSI, we will invite people to step back in time to when Grytviken was a centre for industry and home to an international community. The Main Store and the South Georgia Museum will be curated by a newly appointed professional curator who SGHT will employ from the 2019-20 season.
The Future of Science and Data Information: What do we really know about South Georgia? Creation of an app – a visual interface called LIVE:SGI – to offer an interactive real-time map of the island. Through the map (which will be downloadable to smartphones and tablets) visitors and scientists can access information on the research and science underway on the island and contribute to and support the important conservation work underway on South Georgia and in the Southern Ocean. The Centre for Remote Environments (CRE) at the University of Dundee, Scotland is behind this exciting initiative. Education Resources for Schools to Inspire a New Generation of Environmental Custodians: We work with teachers and an expert from the Geographical Association to develop and introduce a UK Curriculum and SGHT’s emerging education programme.