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A happy new year for penguins
Date:12/30/2008

NEW YORK (DECEMBER 30, 2008)The Bronx Zoo-based Wildlife Conservation Society announced today that its efforts to protect a wildlife-rich coastal region in South America have paid off in the form of a new coastal marine park recently signed into law by the Government of Argentina.

The park, which became official earlier this month, protects half a million penguins along with several species of rare seabirds and the region's only population of South American fur seals. It is the first protected area in Argentina specifically designed to safeguard not only onshore breeding colonies but also areas of ocean where wildlife feed at sea.

The park's creation represents a joint effort by the National Parks Service of Argentina, Government of Chubut, Wildlife Conservation Society and its local partner Fundacin Patagonia Natural with support from the United Nations Development Programme and the Global Environment Facility.

WCS researchers, working with Fundacin Patagonia Natural, provided critical data of key wildlife to ensure that the park's boundaries would include both onshore areas and adjacent waters. Researchers found that the area was in need of protection from increasing pressures by commercial fishing and the oil industry.

"The park protects 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 fishing and energy industries."

Located in Golfo San Jorge in Chubut Province, some 1056 miles (1700 kilometers) south of Buenos Aires, the new protected area covers approximately 250 square miles (647 square kilometers) of coastal waters and nearby islands strung along almost 100 miles (160 kilometers) of shoreline.


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Contact: Stephen Sautner
ssautner@wcs.org
718-220-3682
Wildlife Conservation Society
Source:Eurekalert  

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