The Falkland Islands are a British owned group of islands off the southwest coast of Southern South America in the Atlantic Ocean. There are two large main islands, East and West Falklands, surrounded by hundreds of smaller islands in the archipelago nation. Its location has offered up some unique examples of native and cultivated native species.
The original mammal found on the islands by Europeans was the warrah. It was a wolf or fox like predatory mammal thought to have been brought to the islands by the Patagonian Indians. Its closest relative is probably the maned wolf
. Unfortunately, the warrah is now extinct for over a century, probably due to increased human growth.
There are many species of marine life, not surprisingly, surrounding the islands. Peale's dolphins, killer whales
, and Southern sea lions and seals populate the shores of these beautiful islands. The sea lions and other species are known to breed on the islands as are King penguins
, also seen often in and around the Falklands. Black browed albatross are perhaps the largest breeding species of bird recorded on the Falklands, the only known breeding species of albatross. Most of these bird species populate the smaller islands. In addition, there are several sea bird species and and around twenty land bird species. Zebra trout and Falkland minnows populate the surrounding waters as well.
There are no native amphibians or reptiles to the Falkland Islands. There are, however, over 200 species of insects including beetles, flies, butterflies, spiders (arachnids, not insects) and worms. Because of island living, many insect species have evolved lacking wings.
Cats, rats and sheep have been introduced to the islands. The islands are largely used for sheep pasturing. Only a few dozen species of land invertebrates and spiders are considered endemic to the area.
Since the islands have acidic soil, they are not very fertile and grass and shrubs can survive. On the mountainous regions, clay soil leaves a minute success rate in growing vegetation of any type.