Radio broadcasts on sailing boats in Argentinean waters are helping to protect Magellanic penguins (Spheniscus magellanicus). This initiative is the result of long negotiations involving World Land Trust (WLT) partner organisation Fundación Patagonia Natural and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) in an effort to increase protection of this species, which is listed on the IUCN Red List as Near Threatened.
An official broadcast, in Spanish and English, was made by the Argentine Coast Guard Service requesting that from 13th May of this year, sailors take special precautions whilst in waters where the annual migration of penguins takes place. The broadcast provided the latitude coordinates within which the penguins migrate and asked
“all navigators to take particular precautions to avoid any activities that could affect this corridor that is essential to the natural life cycle of this species.”
Researchers from Fundación Patagonia Natural, together with WCS and other supporting organisations contributed valuable work to provide the necessary information to be broadcast to navigators. This is viewed as an extremely important step in the conservation of this species. Colonies of Magellanic penguins nest from South of the Río Negro to Tierra del Fuego in the Atlantic Ocean, and from Southern Chile to Valparaiso in the Pacific Ocean. Between May and June, the Atlantic colonies migrate more than 4,000 km to the North for the winter, all the way to the same latitude as Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. They return to their breeding grounds in September to repeat the cycle.
Magellanic penguins are found on the shores of the Ranch of Hopes Wildlife Refuge, in the Coastal Steppe, purchased by Fundación Patagonia Natural, with the support of WLT in 2001.
Visit WLT’s Magellanic Penguin profile page to find out more about this charismatic species.