Seeing the Woods

A blog by the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society

Snapshot: Fur seals at the beach close to the former whaling station … on South Georgia.

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seals

Seals reclining on the island of South Georgia. Photograph: Ingo Heidbrink.

For several decades at the beginning of the twentieth century the remote island of South Georgia, approximately 1,400 kilometers east of the southern tip of South America, was the center of the global whaling and sealing industries.

After the last whaling stations closed in the mid-1960s, nature began to claim back the islands. While intensive hunting drove the population of Antarctic fur seals down to the hundreds in the 1930s, today there are once again several million fur seals on the island—often, they even use the beaches directly in front of the remains of the former whaling stations to raise their pups.

South Georgia is, without a doubt, one of the most impressive examples of nature’s ability to recover from even the worst human activities. 

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