The One About the Penguin Post Office

by Laura Findlay

penguin post office

Borrowed from the BBC (links below)

Dear Zoo,

I’m writing to you from the marshmallow that is my bed. I’ll paint you a word picture: pink polka-dot sheets, red tartan blanket atop even retro-er speckled brown duvet, three pillows, curtains open, world dark.

It’s only Wednesday but this week feels long, really long. I live a double life which is one part work and one part study. This week I made it through the work part and now I’m tackling the study part. But penguins!

The best part about you, zoo, is that you result in amazing mind-expanding journeys into the unknown. Subjects can range from French clock mechanics* to frugivores**. Or Antarctica. Best of all.

I’m a bit besotted with Antarctica, something I believe I inherited directly from my dad…maybe way down the line we have Shackleton blood. Anyway, I always find amazing things about Antarctica completely by accident. Last night I was pootling about on PressDisplay which is a massive newspaper database that you SHOULD get acquainted with (ask your friendly librarian). In my pootling, I found an issue of BBC Wildlife magazine (insert overjoyed cactus emoji) and THEN I learnt all about the Penguin Post Office at the not-quite-bottom of the world, i.e. Port Lockroy, Goudier Island, Antarctica.

In short, the Southern-most active post office meets Gentoo penguin breeding colony. Nice, yes? The post office is open in the summer months and is of course heavily visited by tourists. It also has a bit of a museum situation going on as the site has a lot of British historical relevance. The good part is that the site also conducts a lot of research on the Gentoos, particularly around how the colony is effected by human activity.

You can listen to the BBC radio series here.
Read more about Port Lockroy here. And I can’t link you to BBC Wildlife but for curious souls it is issue March 2016 Volume 34 Number 3.

I have to say it feels especially good, reading about the cold South from my cosy bed! Also should add that I don’t spend ALL my time in bed. Promise.

*an actual question I got asked at the Lib!
** my new favourite word – fruit being the primary food source of the species, often in relation to seed dispersal, e.g., many birds are frugivores.

Yours ironically,
Laura and the Gentoos