Sea Lion Island is the most southerly inhabited Island in the Falkland Islands. The 9km2 Island is home to a rich variety of wildlife. The Island is a designated National Nature Reserve as of 2017 and is recognised as one of twenty-two internationally Important Bird Areas in the Falkland Islands. In July 2022, Micky Reeves and Sarah Crofts will celebrate their 5-year anniversary managing Sea Lion Island under their company Wild Falklands Ltd.

 

 

 

Local Micky Reeves was born at Hill Cove, West Falklands. Micky started his journey with Sea Lion Island in 2015 as Lodge Manager and brought with him a wealth of conservation and tourism experience. Sarah Crofts arrived in the Falklands in 2004 and has work for both Falkland Islands Fisheries Department and Falkland Conservation, specialising in seabird conservation. Both Micky and Sarah are keen advocates of eco-tourism, leading the way with their efforts to cultivate a sustainable tourism destination Sea Lion Island. An increased capacity for renewable energy means that the generator only operates as a secondary source. They practice minimising waste and single use plastics, and recycle any food waste into compost for the Islands gardens. 

 

 

In 2017, the couple, with the best wishes and financial assistance of the Falkland Islands Development Corporation (FIDC), purchased a 99-year lease of the Island and Lodge. The secured business loan was utilised together with a Rural Development Scheme Grant for capital works. Alongside financial assistance FIDC have consistently provided business advice though a management plan and offered access to a variety of workshops, which Micky and Sarah have welcomed to support their burgeoning business.

 

 

With the introduction of the TRIP Scheme a higher number of Falkland Islands residents have been afforded the opportunity to visit and enjoy this incredible Island. 

 

 

FIDC sent their Business Engagement Officer, Jane Clarke, along to learn more and spend her first weekend tussac planting! 

 

Photo Credit: Frank Penders

 

Micky and Sarah lead a conservation initiative of habitat restoration across the Island, including an annual tussac planting weekend at the end of March, which is jointly funded by Wild Falklands Ltd and FIDC. Tussac grass grows to 3m tall, living for 200 years or more. Tussac planting is essential for the protection of the Falklands natural environment with the tussac aiding to halt soil erosion, restore the natural habitats of birds, seals and insects, and increase carbon storage. 

 

Photo credit: Frank Penders

 

Tillers are shoots of tussac that can be pulled from 2/3 year old tussac plants, with a conscious effort to only take a small amount to preserve the existing plant. These tillers are planted in deep peaty soil, preferably where tussac has grown in the past.

Day one saw the team of 20 volunteers head to a barren area near the Lodge to pull and plant tillers along the coast.

 

 

Day two saw the team head to the Gulch to pull tillers from the overgrown track.

 

 

Progress can be seen along the coast where tussac has been planted for the last couple of years. 

 

 

These were then taken by trailer to be planted at Beaver Pond, expanding an area that began it’s restoration 2016.

 

 

Jane said: “We had a thoroughly enjoyable and successful weekend tussac planting on Sea Lion Island. It's amazing to learn about the positive changes and conservation improvments Micky and Sarah have put in place to benefit the island and create a healthy ecosystem. FIDC look forward to continuing their close relationship with Wild Falklands Ltd, and anticipate a bright future ahead for the business.”

 

Sea Lion Islands Website:

sealionisland.com

 

For more information about Tussac Planting please refer to Falklands Conservation:

Tussac Grass - Falklands Conservation

About the FIDC

FIDC acts as the national economic development agency for the Falkland Islands and is tasked to develop the commercial sector of the Falkland Islands by being one of the principal partners delivering the Economic, Rural and Tourism Development Strategies.

To help drive sustainable economic growth and assist in the creation of new jobs and opportunities, FIDC provides various forms of support and assistance to the Falkland’s business community.