2 new marine protected areas created on Argentina's southern coasts16/03/2013 23:01:30 Wildlife Conservation Society applauds the creation of the parks
March 2013. The Government of Argentina has created two enormous marine protected areas in Patagonia, a region filled with majestic shorelines and abundant wildlife. The new marine parks-Isla Pingüino Coastal Marine Park and Makenke Coastal Marine Park-were recently established by the National Congress in Argentina and will safeguard sea lions, penguins, dolphins, and other marine and coastal species. The Wildlife Conservation Society applauds the creation of the parks.
"We commend the Government of Argentina for their conservation stewardship in creating this new network of marine protected areas," said Dr. Cristián Samper, President and CEO of the Wildlife Conservation Society. "Isla Pingüino and Makenke Coastal Marine Parks now protect vital wildlife populations for posterity and create new opportunities for Argentina's ecotourism industry."
Makenke Coastal Marine Park
"We commend the National Congress in Argentina for passing laws to create these new marine parks, which will protect the country's natural heritage given what will likely be an increase in development along the coast in years to come," said Dr. Julie Kunen, Director for WCS's Latin America and Caribbean Program.
Isla Pingüino and Makenke Coastal Marine Parks were made possible as a result of work conducted by Dr. Patricia Gandini, President of the National Parks Service, and Dr. Esteban Frere of the Universidad Nacional de la Patagonia Austral. Both biologists began studying the wildlife of the coast of Santa Cruz with support of WCS in 1985.
Both areas were identified as priority conservation sites by the Patagonia Coastal Zone Management Plan project, carried out by both the Wildlife Conservation Society and the Fundación Patagonia Natural with support from the Global Environmental Facility and the UNDP (United Nations Development Program). Support for the research was also provided by the Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (Conicet).Southern right whales
WCS has been involved in the conservation of coastal Patagonia since the 1970s, beginning with Dr. Roger Payne's behavioural work on southern right whales, and continues to this day with research by WCS's Global Health Program on new threats to their survival. WCS began a long-running study on Magellanic penguins in the 1980s. That work led to conservation efforts that helped reduce the number of penguin deaths due to oil spills at sea from more than 40,000 a year to fewer than 1,000 annually, and helped move shipping lanes 30 miles offshore to avoid spills affecting seabird colonies.
WCS has also been conducting research on southern elephant seals, South American sea lions, rockhopper penguins, cormorants, gulls, terns, and other species that breed along the shores of Patagonia. These studies informed the region's first atlas of breeding seabirds, a work designed to guide management decisions on fisheries and other natural resource usage. Over the past 40 years WCS has helped Argentina transition from harvesting of coastal wildlife to a burgeoning tourism industry based on its spectacular coastal species. These two new parks are the latest addition to the country's extraordinary marine conservation effort.
WCS's efforts to help protect wildlife on the Argentine coast and sea are generously supported by the Liz Claiborne and Art Ortenberg Foundation, the Mitsubishi Corporation Foundation for the Americas, the Waitt Foundation, and others.