meet up with… GPS’s Pablo García Borboroglu
It’s no secret that penguins have a special place in our hearts here at MT Finance. And with World Penguin Day taking place today [25th April] we’re marking it by donating to one of our favourite conservation charities, Global Penguin Society.
With a focus on science, education and management, GPS is dedicated not only to the conservation of penguins but also the coasts and oceans they inhabit. We spoke to founder and president Pablo García Borboroglu to find out more.
GPS’s work is split into three categories – science, education, and management. Can you tell us more about each of these?
“We conduct our own projects, work in collaboration with partners and support other projects worldwide. Argentina, New Zealand, South Africa and Chile are some of our main research areas.
“By educating people about penguins and the importance of healthy oceans, we both involve and empower local communities and reach decision makers.
“GPS works closely with governments, communities and landowners to generate effective conservation policies to benefit penguins, their ecosystems, and nearby communities.”
How do donations from companies like MT Finance help GPS?
“The donations allow us to carry out a variety of activities relating to the three main areas of our charity: science, education and management. There is so much that goes into our work, including monitoring and tracking penguin populations, engaging local communities in beach clean-ups and compiling advice for governments and landowners in different countries to secure conditions for the growth of penguin populations. We are constantly looking at how donations can be best used to achieve our objectives.”
What are the greatest challenges currently faced by the world’s penguins?
“Half of the 18 penguin species that exist on the planet are considered threatened. Their fragile conservation status mirrors the condition and larger marine conservation problems of the world´s oceans. Penguins are in trouble because they are very sensitive to alterations in their habitats. In the ocean, factors like climate change, marine pollution, and fisheries mismanagement affect penguins. On land, they are impacted mainly by increasing human disturbance and by the introduction of unfamiliar predators.”
And how do you think these can be overcome?
“To help penguins thrive and minimise the impacts on them we created the Global Penguin Society. Created in 2009, GPS is the first international organisation dedicated exclusively to the conservation of the world’s 18 penguin species, the coasts, and the oceans they inhabit. Our mission is to foster the conservation of all penguin species and their associated ecosystems through science, management guidelines and education.”
What do you most enjoy about working at GPS?
“I love my job and there are many parts of it that I enjoy. I love being with the penguins at the colonies, enjoying the sunsets when they are all braying and I love to see the penguin eggs hatching and seeing the small chicks for the first time. The activities with children are amazing, especially when we take them to visit penguins for the first time in their lives.”
What has been your proudest moment while working at GPS?
“When we were able to create the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve called Patagonia Azul. It is the largest in Argentina with over 3 million hectares and it protects 20 penguin colonies as well as having a very rich variety of marine and terrestrial wildlife.”
What’s next for GPS?
“We will work in Patagonia, Argentina to improve our knowledge and management of penguin habitats and work together with the government to create a new protected area of 230,000 hectares in Punta Ninfas, Chubut Province. This high marine and terrestrial biodiversity area is exposed to very severe threats: intense human disturbance, fisheries, and plastic pollution. This protection will benefit multiple species, including southern right whales, orcas, elephant seals, sea lions, guanacos, rheas and pumas, among other species. All these actions will increase wildlife resilience to cope with climate change and benefit communities through education and ecotourism.”