While Antarctica itself, according to an agreement of 1959, does not belong to a populated state, the surrounding islands are largely under the administration of European nations, such as Australia. Only the Falkland Islands are inhabited.
Today, Antarctica is the only land mass on which no people live permanently, even if a few hundred to a thousand scientists work here and an increased number of tourists visit the region in the southern summer months (November to March).
The easiest to visit is the Antarctic Peninsula, which can be reached by ship from Tierra del Fuego, the archipelago at the southern tip of South America, within two to four days. But crossing the infamous Drake Passage often takes a toll on those prone to motion sickness.
But when the first ice fields and icebergs come into view, all of this is forgotten. The vast landscape and a variety of marine mammals and sea birds make the heart of every nature lover beat faster. At the very top of the “wish list” of most visitors are the various penguin species, leopard seals, as well as orcas (which, by the way, form different subspecies here, which differ in appearance) and other whales.
The abundance of food in Antarctica comes entirely from the sea, so it is hardly surprising that there is no permanent resident wildlife on land.
It’s tiny algae that feed krill, and that’s how it all begins. Even seals have specialized in filtering these shrimps out of the water and baleen whales such as humpback whales and fin whales are drawn to the cold south polar waters by the thousands to eat krill.