Antarctica is remarkable, unique and undoubtedly a memorable place to visit. For over 100 years now, Antarctica has attracted curious minds. It's other-worldly and vulnerable environment draw more and more people there to study and visit the region. However, it is these very qualities that put the region at risk: as more of us visit, the more we will impact the environment, including the introduction of invasive species that could harm Antarctic ecosystems.
We have a responsibility to ensure that if we are lucky enough to visit Antarctica, and the sub-Antarctic islands, that we leave as little trace of our trip as possible.
Polar Alien Hunters was founded as a public engagement and education initiative to raise awareness of the issues surrounding invasive species in Antarctica. It is our aim to show that just a few simple steps taken at home before you leave will slow down alien invasions.
We will tell you stories of those alien species who have got to Antarctica and the sub-Antarctic islands, and what is being done to limit their impact on the local wildlife.
Antarctica is warming, in fact the regions that we visit the most, the Antarctic Peninsular and islands, are some of the fastest warming places on earth. This means that the oceans and ice-free land that is already undergoing great changes, are more vulnerable than usual to alien species.
An alien species can be a plant, animal or even a microbe. An alien may be an insect so abundant that it can change the fertility of the soil, a king crab that could decimate marine ecosystems, or a virus that could risk iconic species such as penguins.
The challenge is to find a balance between showing people the wonder of our natural world and learning about Antarctica's crucial role for our planet, whilst also ensuring that we do not negatively impact it in the process.