Penguins march into new park

Aug 09, 2007
Penguins march into new park
Three Magellanic penguins in the new marine park declared by Argentina on Aug. 8. Over half a million of these marine birds will call home to this new protected area. Credit: Graham Harris/Wildlife Conservation Society

The Bronx Zoo-based Wildlife Conservation Society announced today that the government of Argentina will create a new marine park along its isolated and windswept Patagonia coast to safeguard more than half a million penguins and other rare seabirds. Located in Golfo San Jorge, the new protected area covers around 250 square miles (647 square kilometers) of coastal waters and nearby islands strung along almost 100 miles (160 kilometers) of shoreline.

The announcement was made by President Nestor Kirchner of Argentina, the Governor of the Province of Chubut—Mario Das Neves—and by Argentina’s National Park Service. The park’s creation represents a joint effort by the Government of Chubut, the National Parks Service of Argentina, the Wildlife Conservation Society and the Fundación Patagonia Natural.

“This decision represents a significant commitment by the government to protect one of the most productive and extraordinary marine ecosystems on the planet,” said Dr. Guillermo Harris, director of the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Argentina Program. “The creation of this park comes in the nick of time for many species that are threatened by the region’s fisheries and energy industry.”

The new park serves as a nesting and feeding ground for some quarter million pairs of Magellanic penguin, estimated to represent 20 percent of the entire species. The park includes more than 40 small islands, which support the only two nesting colonies of southern giant petrels on the entire Patagonian coast, as well as the only colonies of Southern American fur seals. Other denizens of this coastal oasis include the endangered Olrog’s gull, the white-headed steamer duck, and almost a quarter of all imperial and rock cormorants of Argentina.

While the coastline is largely undeveloped, its wildlife is under pressure from a number of threats, including Argentina’s commercial shrimp industry. Many birds become entangled in fishing nets, and oil pollution from tankers transporting petroleum from southern Patagonia to Buenos Aires and from expanding offshore oil drilling operations is a looming possibility.

Legislation to formally create the protected area will be drafted in the next few months and approved by the Argentine Congress and local legislators.

Source: Wildlife Conservation Society

Explore further: New study charts the global invasion of crop pests

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Fighting invasive giant salvinia with weevils

Nov 25, 2013

Texas A&M AgriLife scientists are seeing significant areas of giant salvinia destroyed by salvinia-eating weevils at Caddo Lake on the Texas-Louisiana border as part of a project evaluating management of ...

With many parrots endangered, team sequences macaw genome

May 09, 2013

(Phys.org) —In a groundbreaking move that provides new insight into avian evolution, biology and conservation, researchers at Texas A&M University have successfully sequenced the complete genome of a Scarlet ...

Weevils successfully destroy acres of lake-invading plants

Sep 21, 2012

(Phys.org)—A weevil that feeds exclusively on giant salvinia has successfully destroyed about 150 acres of the invasive plant this summer on B.A. Steinhagen Lake near Woodville in East Texas, according to personnel involved ...

Deforestation threatens Brazil's wetland sanctuary

Feb 03, 2012

The Pantanal, a stunning biodiversity sanctuary in central-western Brazil, is threatened by intensive farming and deforestation, a leading environmental group warned as the world marked World Wetlands Day ...

Yellow fever strikes monkey populations in South America

Mar 11, 2010

A group of Argentine scientists, including health experts from the Wildlife Conservation Society, have announced that yellow fever is the culprit in a 2007-2008 die-off of howler monkeys in northeastern Argentina, a finding ...

Recommended for you

New study charts the global invasion of crop pests

6 hours ago

Many of the world's most important crop-producing countries will be fully saturated with pests by the middle of the century if current trends continue, according to a new study led by the University of Exeter.

Zambia lifts ban on safari hunting

8 hours ago

Zambia has lifted a 20-month ban on safari hunting because it has lost too much revenue, but lions and leopards will remain protected, the government said Wednesday.

Wolves susceptible to yawn contagion

11 hours ago

Wolves may be susceptible to yawn contagion, according to a study published August 27, 2014 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Teresa Romero from The University of Tokyo, Japan, and colleagues.

User comments : 0