A hundred years ago, whalers plowed its waters, taking whales, seals, and penguins. Even today a few countries take whales, albeit in the name of "research". With Antarctic whale meat a common commodity in Japanese fish markets, one can't help but wonder what kind of research they are doing--tasting panels?
Although the Antarctic Treaty countries consult on the use of the whole continent, the pendulum could easily swing from one of conservation and protection to that of uncontrolled usage and extinction of rare Antarctic mammals and birds.
I am glad we had an opportunity to see this magnificent wilderness, and encourage anyone who loves the out of doors and adventure to make a trip to the far south on the Hanseatic or another of the numerous ships that sail Antarctic waters. I promise you the cuteness of penguins will exceed your expectations, and it's really not that cold! (in the Antarctic summer)