WWF UK Blog Rod Downie

Rod Downie's latest posts

Emperor penguin Chick Dawson-Lambton Glacier, Antarctica © Fritz Pölking / WWF

Top 10 facts about emperor penguins






For me, Emperor penguins are the iconic Antarctic species. When I first saw them on the ice, I was struck by their serene grace and intricate beauty. Delicate gold patches adorn their chest like an artist’s brushstroke against their otherwise black and white plumage. No other species is so perfectly adapted to survive in the […]

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mother polar bear and cub walk across frozen pond © Elizabeth Kruger / WWF-US

Icons of the ice (part two)






You join me on an innovative population survey of polar bears in the Canadian Arctic, led by scientists from the Government of Nunavut. We’re here to improve our understanding of how the bears will survive in a climate-altered future. “Bear! Starboard at 9 o’clock”. In the excitement, it takes a fraction of a second to […]

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Polar bear walking on ice © WWF-US / Elisabeth Kruger

Icons of the ice (part one)






In April last year, I joined scientists from the Government of Nunavut in the Canadian Arctic who were conducting an innovative population survey of polar bears. Why? Because in order to help conserve this iconic species, we need better data to accurately assess how climate change will affect them. And that’s where innovation and technology […]

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Emperor penguins diving, Ross Sea, Antarctica © National Geographic Creative / Paul Nicklen / WWF

Tracking the emperors of Antarctica






WWF has teamed up with the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) to track emperor penguins in Antarctica. And now for the first time in 60 years, these iconic birds have received a British-led fieldwork study. For me, emperor penguins are the iconic Antarctic species. When I first encountered them, I was struck not only by their […]

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Gentoo penguin, Antarctica © Rod Downie

Penguins and oil don’t mix






Penguins and oil don’t mix. That’s why, for a quarter of a century, Antarctica has remained the world’s biggest No-Go zone for oil and gas exploitation and commercial mining. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the mining ban under the Antarctic Treaty’s environmental protocol. In 1991, 29 countries agreed by consensus to ensure that […]

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Jack, Finn and Rod Downie, Arctic © WWF-UK

To the Arctic with JacksGap






I’m in the Arctic with JacksGap and glaciologist Professor Alun Hubbard. JacksGap are twin brothers Jack and Finn, accompanied by award-winning cameraman Tim Kellner. They are an online blog and video sensation with a massive reach to a young audience and a zeal for telling stories well. Alun has been at the forefront of research […]

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Supporting WWF’s Earth Hour in Antarctica under the Southern Lights ©Tom Welsh, British Antarctic Survey Earth Hour

The Light at the Ends of the Earth






For me, Earth Hour is one of the most inspirational events of the year. It’s the world’s largest mass participation event for the environment, bringing together millions of people, businesses and governments to share a common cause and a common sense of purpose – the need to tackle dangerous global climate change. Last year, people […]

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Penguin under the snow © Timothee Poupart CNRS World Penguin Day

Tracking penguins in the ‘Land of the Adélies’






WWF is supporting polar scientists working with the French Antarctic Programme (IPEV/CNRS) who are monitoring Adélie penguins at Dumont D’Urville Station in Terre Adélie, East Antarctica. I blogged about this vital work in the ‘Land of the Adélies’ previously. The aim is to identify ‘biological hotspots’ in the Southern Ocean which are important feeding grounds […]

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