Sea Lion Island is the southernmost inhabited island of the Falkland Islands. Historically, Sea Lion Island was a sheep farm and a base for slaughtering penguins to render for oil. When the British ship Viscount was wrecked in 1892, the wreckage was used to build the farmhouse.
The island was managed as a sheep farm for almost all of the 20th century, but in 1997 all but a small flock of sheep was removed. In 1990, the Clifton family who owned the island, sold it to the Falkland Islands Development Corporation. They had planted 60,000 stands of tussac grass.
Some 56 species of flowering plants have been recorded, including the Fuegian Violet which, in the Falklands, is found nowhere else. The island is known for its marine mammals, including breeding colonies of southern sea lions and southern elephant seals, for which the other islands in the group are haul-out sites. Killer whales occur offshore.
The Sea Lion Islands Group has been identified by BirdLife International as an Important Bird Area. It is a significant breeding site for a variety of seabirds and other waterbirds including Falkland Steamer Ducks, Ruddy-headed Geese, Gentoo Penguins (2800 pairs), Southern Rockhopper Penguins (480 pairs), Magellanic Penguins, Southern Giant-petrels (25 pairs) and Sooty Shearwaters. It also supports populations of Striated Caracaras (10 pairs), Blackish Cinclodes, Cobb’s Wrens and White-bridled Finches.
Photo Credit: Mikael