Mike Bingham – South America

Mike Bingham is a Marine Biologist who has worked for the United States Government (1990-1993), Falkland Islands Government (1993-2004), British Government (1998-2001), Chilean Government (1998 – present) and Argentine government (2003 – present). Since 1993 Bingham has worked to study and protect penguins in southern South America.

In 1993 Bingham was employed as Conservation Officer for the Falkland Islands. In 1995 he carried out a census of penguin populations and discovered an 85% decline in Rockhopper and Magellanic penguins since the establishment of the Falkland Islands’ commercial fishing industry in 1988. When Bingham refused to keep these findings secret, the Falkland Islands Government decided to replace Bingham.

Instead of leaving the Falklands, Bingham continued to study and protect penguins using his own money. In 1998 the British Government came to his rescue with three years funding to establish a long-term penguin research program. Bingham set up his Adopt-a-Penguin program to provide long-term funding for the work, and extended his work into Chile and Argentina.

Today this work to protect penguins is entirely independent. It is entirely funded by the Adopt-a-Penguin programme in which people can adopt and name their very own penguin at www.seabirds.org