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Port Lockroy, Antarctica assistant position attracts more than 1,000 applicants

This untouched file photo shows penguins in Port

This untouched file photo shows penguins in Port Lockroy, Antarctica. Photo Credit: Christopher Michel's Flickr account

Would you have what it takes to work alone on an island with 3 other people — and 2,000 penguins?

More than 1,500 people say yes. The United Kingdom Antarctic Heritage Trust received applications last month for four people to work as an assistant in Port Lockroy, Antarctica. The position includes running the museum and shop, monitoring 2,000 Gentoo penguins, assisting visitors to the island and handling letters at the post office.

The job lasts from November to March, summertime in Antarctica, and the four chosen will make $1,700 a month.  UKAHT stopped receiving applications on Feb. 27. 

Competition for the positions will be high, with more than 300 people applying for each position offered. In 2014, UKAHT only received 82 applications.  

The spike in applications is thanks to “Penguin Post Office,” a documentary about the outpost that aired on BBC and PBS.

The post office at Port Lockroy handles more than 70,000 cards annually. Each year approximately 18,000 tourists visit Port Lockroy, which is situated on Goudier Island in the Antarctic Peninsula, eager to see the penguins that have inhabited the island since 1985.  The employees at Port Lockroy handle the mail and welcome tourists, all while “dodging penguins,” according to the job posting.  

The position is not an easy one. No post office experience is necessary, but applicants need to be "happy not to shower for up to a month, live in close proximity to three people and 2,000 smelly penguins for five months," and "enthuse to visitors when it is -5C° and blowing a blizzard as well as cook supper cheerfully after a long cold day and very little sleep.”


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