On the southwestern edge of the archipelago, sprawling Weddell Island is the Falklands’ third-largest island, with a representative sample of wildlife and an intriguing history. Like Saunders Island, Weddell belonged to Scottish estanciero John Hamilton, and he and his managers undertook audacious agricultural experiments here.
Some of these projects, such as replanting native tussock grass, cultivating experimental forests, and diversifying the livestock with dozens of Highland cattle and more than a hundred Shetland ponies, were commendable even if they met limited success. Others, such as introducing Patagonian foxes, were foolish; expected to provide pelts, the proliferating foxes not only caused high lamb mortality but also preyed on bird eggs.
Like Saunders, Weddell became Argentine property, but after the war it was sold to its resident managers; it has since changed hands again to a British owner.
Visitors can go to Loop Head, the best wildlife site, for its gentoo and Magellanic penguins, giant petrels, great skuas, night herons, and striated caracaras. Open to visitors once again, the island offers self-catering accommodations at Mountain View Cottage (tel. 42398).
© Wayne Bernhardson from Moon Argentina, 3rd edition