Don't Pack a Pest to Antarctica!

Help Protect Antarctica's Pristine Environment from Non-Native Species

Non-Native Species in Antarctica

Non-native species are those species that do not naturally occur in an area and have been introduced either intentionally or unintentionally. A wide range of non-native species now occur in Antarctica and the sub-Antarctic islands. These introduced species include microbes, algae, fungi, vascular plants, invertebrates, fish, birds and mammals.

Lessons Learned for Antarctica from the Sub-Antarctic

As noted in the graph below, human activities in the sub-Antarctic islands have contributed to approximately 200 non-native species, both intentional (rabbits and reindeer for food) and unintentional (mice, rats, worms and grasses). They have come to survive in - and sometimes to dominate - their habitats, often causing alterations to the ecosystems through extinction or decreased abundance of native species.

Source: Frenot, Y et al. Biological invasions in the Antarctic: extent, impacts and implications. Biol. Rev. (2005), 80, pp. 45-72.

Be a Responsible Visitor

Despite known introductions of non-native species, Antarctica remains a relatively pristine environment. Human activity has the potential to act as a vector for non-native species. Across the continent, science programs and tour operators are working to minimize the risk of humans being a vector for transporting non-native species into and within the Antarctic.

Still at Home? Here's What You Can Do Before You Go South...

  1. Download the "Don't Pack a Pest" pamphlet indicated on this page, and make sure everyone in your party has a copy, reads it completely and follows the recommendations.
  2. Clean and examine clothes and equipment thoroughly: pockets, seams Velcro® fasteners, boot soles, backpacks, camera bags, tripods, etc. for dirt and organic material.
  3. Pack clean gear: if your gear is still dirty from a previous trip to Antarctica, you could still be transporting a non-native species.

Once You've Arrived...

  1. Follow all boot and clothing decontamination procedures on your expedition.
  2. Watch your step, and be careful when walking in areas that contain organic matter. Make sure to clean it off before leaving a site.
  3. Clean your gear regularly during the trip, and check boots, jacket, hems, etc.
  4. Tell your guides if you think you have found a non-native species.

When You Get Home...

  1. Spread the word. Share this information with others, as we all contribute to the health of the Antarctic!

Note: This information is based on a U.S. Antarctic Program leaflet, Don't Pack a Pest

Don't Pack a Pest, A4-size pamphlet

Don't Pack a Pest, US letter-size pamphlet

Stop a la Contamination en Antarctique, A4 pamphlet French

Bringen Sie Keine Blinden Passagiere In Die Antarktis, A4 pamphlet German

No Introduzca Bioinvasores a la Antártida, A4 pamphlet Spanish

Don't Pack a Pest, Chinese