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

The region serves as a nesting and feeding ground for some quarter million pairs of Magellanic penguin, estimated to represent 25 percent of the entire population in Patagonia. Its 50 small islands also support two nesting colonies of southern giant petrels that represent over 80 percent of its population on the entire Patagonian coast. Other denizens of this coastal oasis include the endangered Olrog's gull, the white-headed steamer duck, and almost one third of all imperial and rock cormorants of Argentina.

While the coastline is largely undeveloped, its wildlife has been increasingly threatened by commercial fishing nets, which can entangle birds as they feed. Oil pollution from tankers transporting petroleum from southern Patagonia to Buenos Aires, coupled with expanding offshore oil drilling, have also loomed as growing threats in recent years.

Mitsubishi Corporation Foundation for the Americas has provided funding for the creation of this unique coastal protected area and for WCS's multi-faceted efforts to safeguard coastal Patagonia, including the Sea & Sky program, which is committed to achieving long-term viability of the Patagonian Sea by integrating the best available science, building capacity and providing inspiration to promote local interest in ocean conservation.

WCS has been active in Patagonia since the 1960s, conducting studies for the conservation of southern right whales, Magellanic penguins, southern elephant seals, and other unique wildlife. WCS manages some 740,000 acres of wilderness on the Chilean side of Tierra del Fuego, part of a major donation of land made by Goldman Sachs in 2004.


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

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