Lonely Planet Writer

When good animals go cartographic

Penguins in Patagonia

A bunch of penguins just mapped the Patagonian Sea. (They had some help.)

In a novel experiment, the Wildlife Conservation Society and BirdLife International teamed up on a major project. Stretching from the coast of Brazil to the waters off Chile, the Patagonian Sea is one of the least understood marine ecosystems in the world. But there are those who do know its ins and outs: the marine animals who populate the region.

With that fact as their premise, researchers fitted out more than a dozen marine species (including penguins, sea lions, elephant seals and albatrosses) with GPS-tracked collars. They then followed the movements of these animals, collecting hundreds of thousands of data point.

The result is a 300-page atlas of the entire ecosystem, available from the organisations.

It just goes to show: if you want to get to know a place, spend some time hanging out with the locals.

(Image credit Holger Leue. You can purchase it here.)