Magellanic Penguin Study Site
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Punta Tombo, Argentina
Punta Tombo is located in Chubut Province, Argentina at the base of a small peninsula that juts 3.5 km out into the Atlantic Ocean. Punta Tombo is home to guanacos, foxes, armadillos, rheas, and a diverse seabird colony. In the 1960s, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and Province of Chubut Bureau of Tourism began working together to protect the wildlife of the region. Between 1979 and 2008, the La Regina family donated more than 210 hectares of their sheep ranch to form the Punta Tombo Provincial Reserve and Interpretation Center. The number of visitors increased from fewer than 100 annual visitors in the 1960s to more than 100,000 yearly visitors today. Over 100,000 breeding pairs of Magellanic penguins breed at Punta Tombo. Although it once was the largest Magellanic penguin colony in the world, the colony started declining in the early 1980s and has declined by about 40% since 1987. Visitors to Punta Tombo have an opportunity to see and learn about penguins so that when they return home, they can act as ambassadors for the conservation of penguins and their habitat.