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Climate and Environment

Antarctica's 'Penguin Post Office' Is Hiring

Apply now to work at the British base in Port Lockroy, Antarctica, and young Gentoo penguins like this one could be your Goudier Island neighbors.
Apply now to work at the British base in Port Lockroy, Antarctica, and young Gentoo penguins like this one could be your Goudier Island neighbors.
(Alison Wright
/
Getty Images)
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A remote post office in Antarctica is hiring. And if you're good at sorting mail, selling postage stamps — and counting penguins — this could be the job for you.

The post office at Port Lockroy, also known as the "Penguin Post Office," is a popular tourist destination on Goudier Island, just off the west side of the Antarctic peninsula. The historic site receives about 18,000 visitors each season. And the area is also filled with penguins.

A British Antarctic territory, Post Lockroy's "Base A" — home to the post office — was established in 1944 and operated as a British research station. Now, it is managed by the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust, which operates the museum and gift shop. Profit from the shop supports renovations of other historic sites in Antarctica.

The UKAHT team also monitors the impact of visitors in an environmental study, which includes counting the number of penguins — and penguin chicks — on the island. The study aids in the regulation of the number of visitors to the island, and informs guidelines "to ensure the environment is properly cared for," according to the territory's website.

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Applications for the seasonal positions, which can run roughly from November to March, close Monday at 11:59 p.m. GMT.

Living and working on the island is far from luxurious. On top of the cold temperatures — which can dip as low as 23 degrees Fahrenheit, and can feel colder with the wind chill — the accommodations are limited, according to an information packet for a job on the island.

The staff members share a single bedroom and there's no flushing toilet. Instead, a camping toilet must be emptied daily.

There's also no running water or showers. Visiting ships offer staffers showers every few days. In some cases, staff may go up to two weeks without showers.

Communication is also limited. There's no internet access or cell phone reception, and satellite phone calls are costly. Staffers will have "very minimal communication with home," according to the packet.

And in the the event of an emergency, medical evacuations to a hospital could take as many as seven days, according to the packet.

"Antarctica is a physically and mentally challenging place to work," the packet reads.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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