Argentine Patagonia

Conserving wildlife by creating and strengthening protected areas on shore and at sea…

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Grant Recipient: Wildlife Conservation Society
Project Support: Marine Expansion of Coastal Protected Areas in Argentina
Term: 2012/2013

Argentina’s coastal and ocean environments are unique due to the extended and relatively shallow continental shelf. The system supports a variety of resident and visiting charismatic species, such as southern right whales, southern elephant seals, Magellanic penguins and black-browed albatrosses, among many others. Argentina has a system of coastal protected areas but the marine component is almost negligible. During the last few years, this reality has begun to change and there are attempts to improve the representation of the marine environment in the protected area system.

Project Goals

This project seeks to conserve wildlife on the coast of Argentine Patagonia by creating and strengthening protected areas in key sites on shore and at sea. These areas will form part of a network with explicit connectivity between coastal and offshore habitats that will increase protection for the large and unique populations of marine birds, mammals, and fish that depend on this marine ecosystem.

Priority areas: Península Valdés, Punta Tombo, Golfo San Jorge, Isla Pingüino, Monte León, Is. de los Estados, and Burdwood Bank.

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WCS will provide the information needed to support the creation of the proposed protected areas and fill essential knowledge gaps where required. They will work with provincial governors and their technical staff, as well as the Federal Government, to draft legislation for the creation of these protected areas. Further, WCS will work with legislators in the House of Representatives of the respective provinces and Argentina’s National Congress to assist and shepherd the legislation process. This process will include the provision of essential information and technical capacity to provincial and national protected area managers, and will guide coastal conservation and management in the region. New policies for marine ecosystem conservation, a Southern Cone Marine Atlas, and a web site publically sharing distribution of key coastal and marine species and habitats will be valuable outputs.

Because of its 40-year presence in Argentina, its well-regarded contributions to conservation, and the connections it has built with the Argentine Government over this time, WCS is in a unique position to develop and deliver this multi-pronged strategy for increasing wildlife protection across the multiple governmental jurisdictions on the coast of Argentine Patagonia.

Field Expertise

Dr. Claudio Campagna has been a member of the National Research Council of Argentina (CONICET) and a researcher for the Wildlife Conservation Society since the early 1980s. He lives and works in Patagonia, Argentina. His specialty is the social behavior of marine mammals, particularly seals and sea lions. In the 1990s, he was part of the team that conducted the Patagonian Coastal Zone Management Plan funded by GEF-UNDP. The latter was the first attempt to integrate management of an extended coastal area in Argentina and one of the first in South America. Today he is promoting the Sea and Sky project, a vision of an oceanic reserve along the border of the Patagonian continental shelf. He divides his present conservation interests between Sea and Sky and understanding the ideological aspects of the conservation movement.

Claudio is a Wildlife Conservation Society conservation zoologist, with an MD from the University of Buenos Aires and a PhD in animal behavior from the University of California at Santa Cruz. For his work on the conservation of the Patagonian Sea, he has been elected a Pew Fellow in marine conservation. Claudio divides his efforts into three areas: field research on the biology of marine mammals, conducted at Peninsula Valdes (Argentina); conservation work; and writing essays and fiction. He is convinced of the urgent need to promote the conservation agenda using creative communication tools. Claudio has been published widely in scientific literature, served on the SSC Steering Committee between 2004 and 2008, is Co-Chair of the IUCN SSC Marine Conservation Sub-Committee, and is a member of the Pinniped Specialist Group. 



Dr. Claudio Campagna - WCS / Marine Mammals

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