IntroductionRoughly halfway between Tasmania and the Antarctic continent, Macquarie Island has one of the highest concentrations of wildlife in the subantarctic region. Australia's Sir Douglas Mawson built a wireless radio relay base on the island when he first brought modern communications to the Antarctic region in 1911. (Until then, the island was only frequented by sealers who boiled down penguin and seal blubber for oil.) Mawson's subsequent conservation efforts saved the penguin colonies on Macquarie, and the Australian government now staffs an important wildlife research station there. The island is a World Heritage Site and home to tens of thousands of seals and some 4 million penguins. It has the world's only royal penguin rookery (to which the number of visitors is restricted) and a massive king penguin colony, which visitors may visit by Zodiac boat only. A permit is required to visit the island.
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