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Wildlife of the Southern Ocean

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In and around the Southern Ocean lives an ecosystem of plant and animal life including penguins, seals, and whales.

Major wildlife regions
North AmericaCentral & South AmericaAfricaMadagascarEurasiaSouth & Southeast AsiaAustralasiaArcticSouthern Ocean



Penguins parading in the French Southern and Antarctic Lands

All but one species of penguins are native to the Southern Hemisphere.

  • Antarctica. The best place to see penguins, but also remote and expensive.
  • Tierra del Fuego. This region is part of Argentina and Chile, at the southern tip of South America. There are penguin colonies within 30 km of Ushuaia and Punta Arenas, as well as other locations that are further or require ferries to reach. See this site for a full list.
  • Falkland Islands.
  • Phillip Island, Victoria. Here you can see dozens of little fairy penguins waddle up from the sea to their nests at sunset. Within two hours' drive of Melbourne.
  • Penguin Island, Rockingham, Western Australia. Home to a colony of little penguins, though few wild penguins are visible during the day. Located close to Perth.
  • Tasmania. Fairy penguins can be seen coming in from the water around dusk in some parts of the island state; Bicheno and Bruny Island are popular destinations for penguin-spotting. If you happen to be in the northwest of the state, Burnie has an observation centre, while you may be able to see some penguins waddling around north of the freeway (i.e. Bass Highway), including places like Ulverstone, Devonport, and even the town that's named Penguin.
  • Macquarie Island, Tasmania. Australia's Subantarctic jewel may officially be a part of Tasmania, but the penguins you'll see here are nowhere near identical to the adorable blue fairy penguins you'll see on the Tasmanian mainland. Here, you'll find the near-threatened royal penguin (though they don't get to declare themselves as the monarch of the island) and a plethora of king, southern rockhopper, and gentoo penguins. As it's a Subantarctic island, it's not open for regular tourism but cruise ships that depart from Hobart do pay a visit to Macca.
  • New Zealand. Penguins can be seen in places like Oamaru and Akaroa.
  • South Africa. Home to African penguins. They can be seen at Boulders Beach, and at Betty's Bay in Overberg. Both are within a 90-minute drive of Cape Town.
  • Galapagos Islands. The archipelago is the home of the endemic Galapagos penguin and is the northernmost habitat of any penguin species. Indeed, a small part of the Isabela Island, one of the islands on which the penguins thrive, extends across the Equator, making this the only place in the Northern Hemisphere with a wild penguin population.

Sea lions[edit]

  • Kangaroo Island. Popular spot for sea lions and only two hours and a ferry from Adelaide.
  • 1 Great Australian Bight Marine Park. This marine park is home to approximately 80% of Australian sea lions. Great Australian Bight Marine Park (Q1544205) on Wikidata Great Australian Bight Marine Park on Wikipedia

See also[edit]

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