Dr. Pablo Borboroglu was destined to study penguins. Growing up in Argentina he was raised on his grandmother’s stories of childhood trips to the Patagonian coast, meandering along dirt roads in a horse-drawn wagon for the chance to see the penguins. Intrigued and inspired, Pablo’s career began to take shape around protecting these endearing animals. Penguins even led Pablo to his wife, who he first met on a remote island research site; she was studying sea lions while he, naturally, was researching penguins.
In 1998, Pablo discovered a tiny penguin colony in Patagonia —home to only six pairs of penguins. Reckless beach-goers and fishermen had all but destroyed the colony, leaving piles of trash and burning down bushes where penguins nest. By this time, Pablo had founded the conservation organization, the Global Penguin Society (GPS). GPS considers no penguin colony too small to protect. Working with landowners and the local government, GPS helped designate the area as a legally protected wildlife refuge. Subsequently, as the garbage was collected and a small, responsible ecotourism operation was established, the colony returned to nest again.
Years later, Pablo’s success in protecting penguin habitat increased a thousand-fold. In July 2015, UNESCO approved a proposal developed by GPS and the government of Argentina to create a massive biosphere reserve along the coast of Patagonia called “Blue Patagonia.” Roughly the size of Belgium and stretching 24 miles offshore, Blue Patagonia will ensure the protection of 40% of the global population of Magellanic penguins.
That Pablo chose to dedicate his career to penguins is extremely fortunate to the conservation of these fascinating birds. With the mounting effects of climate change, marine pollution, and poor fisheries management, 60% of the world’s penguins are threatened or endangered. Fortunately, Pablo and GPS are making the vital strides in research, education, and marine management necessary for the survival of all eighteen penguin species around the world.
Penguins have greatly enriched Pablo’s life, and he in turn has become one of their most exceptional and effective defenders. He can’t help it, it’s destiny.
Learn more about the Global Penguin Society’s work to protect penguins.