Hope Harbour, West Falkland

Year of compilation: 2006

Site description
Grave Cove Camp, a promontory in the north-western section of Hope Harbour Farm, has striking scenery. Severe south-west-facing cliffs peak at 130 m in the south and the land slopes northwards towards the coast of Hope Harbour. It is divided from Bramble Point Camp by a wide valley, only about 20 m above sea level at its highest point, with large areas of eroded ground to the south of Grave Cove. Much of Bramble Point Camp is mountainous with stone runs and is used for sheep farming. A ridge to the north of Hope Harbour extends westwards more than 2.5 miles (4 km) towards the low-lying Hope Point, with extensive kelp beds on its northern coast.

Key biodiversity
Hope Harbour has been chosen as an IBA because it is the only mainland site with colonies of the globally endangered Black-browed Albatross and it has two large colonies of Gentoo Penguins. Access to the albatross colonies on very steep cliffs is extremely difficult. Endemic sub-species recorded at the site include the Upland Goose and the Long-tailed Meadowlark. Apart from penguin and albatross counts, there is little information available. Knowledge of other species is very limited and requires further fieldwork.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
The whole of this area has been heavily overgrazed in past years and little, if any, of the coastal Tussac remains. There is much ‘black ground’, the result of serious soil erosion over many years. The presence of feral cats and rats will be having a negative impact on the resident birds, as with all mainland areas, but this has not been investigated. This site is more than 8.5 miles (14 km) from the settlement and overland travel is difficult. There are few visitors and this is not a tourist destination, although the cliffs are visible from passing cruise ships and West Point Island. However, it is very important that the Falkland Islands Countryside Code is followed,particularly to guard against the risk of fire. The entire area has been little studied and would warrant a survey in the near future. While the albatross breeding site is protected from disturbance due to its extreme inaccessibility, potential threats include the possibility of a landslip due to cliff erosion.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2021) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Hope Harbour, West Falkland. Downloaded from on 08/05/2021.