A Marine Mammal Area of Global Significance
Map of the Month: Valdes, Patagonian Coast and Patagonian Shelf
Map boundaries: 40 to 50 degrees South; 55 to 66 degrees West
Country: Argentina (The map area includes the administrative part of Buenos Aires province in Patagonia, coastal Rio Negro and Chubut provinces, and Cape Blanco of Santa Cruz province)
Although inland areas of Patagonia are known for being semiarid and cold, the Patagonian coast is a site of global significance for conservation of marine mammals. Tourism centers around the Valdes Peninsula of Chubut, which harbors thousands of sea lions, killer whales, right whales, southern elephant seals, and fur seals. Other sites along the coast are nesting sites for penguins. Fossils may be found in cliff faces along coastal Rio Negro. The most important fossil finds in Patagonia, including dinosaurs, are displayed in a museum in Trelew. The area is also noted for its human communities, including Welsh settlements along the Rio Chubut.
Terrestrial Ecoregions and Provinces/Political Subdivisions
Temperate Grasslands, Savannas and Shrublands
NT 802, Argentine Monte. Found in Buenos Aires, Chubut, and Rio Negro provinces of Argentina. Thorn scrub and dry grasslands with resinous evergreen bushes such as Larrea, Bulnesia, and Plectocarpa.
NT 805, Patagonian steppe. Found in Chubut, Rio Negro and Santa Cruz provinces of Argentina. Low-lying mountains, plateaus, and plains with drought-adapted vegetation. Shrubs of Acantholippia, Benthamiella; cushion plants.
NT 806., Semi-arid Pampas. Found in Buenos Aires and Rio Negro provinces of Argentina. Steppe grasses and xerophytic shrubland.
Marine Ecoregions of the World
Temperate South America Realm, Magellanic Province
184. North Patagonian Gulfs. Coastal areas from Gulf of San Jorge northward.
185. Patagonian Shelf. Coastal Santa Cruz and offshore areas to edge of continental shelf to the north
186. Malvinas/Falklands. Continental shelf of south of 49 degrees south.
Freshwater Ecoregions of the World
South America Region, Temperate Coastal Rivers
UNESCO World Heritage Site
Valdes Peninsula. Found in Chubut. An ax-shaped promontory with 250 miles of coastline and gulfs enclosing tidal mud flats and salt marshes. A site of global significance for conservation of marine mammals, including the endangered southern right whale. Ecoregions NT 805 and MEOW 184.
Other points of interest:
Balneario El Condor. Found in Rio Negro. Cliff faces along coast contain 35,000 nests of burrowing parrots. Ecoregion 802.
Cabo Blanco Nature Preserve. Found in Santa Cruz. Ecoregion 805.
Cabo Dos Bahias Nature Reserve. Found in Chubut. Up to 50,000 penguins, orcas, whales, sea lions, and seabirds. Ecoregion NT 805 and MEOW 184.
Caleta de los Loros Multiple Use Reserve. Found in Rio Negro. Ecoregion 802.
Complejo Islote Lobos Wildlife Reserve. Found in Rio Negro. Six granite rock island outcrops used by nesting seabirds; northernmost colony of Magellanic penguins. Ecoregions 802 and MEOW 184.
Rio Deseado Nature Reserve. Found in Santa Cruz. Nesting area for penguins and sea birds. Ecoregions NT 805 and MEOW 185.
Las Grutas. Found in Rio Negro. Eroded sea caves with large tidal range. Ecoregion 802 and MEOW 184.
La Loberia (Reserva Faunistica de Punta Bermeja). Found in Rio Negro. A notable sea lion colony. Ecoregions NT 802 and MEOW 184.
Meseta de Somuncura Reserve. Found in Rio Negro. Provincial protected area consisting of a basaltic plateau created from past volcanic activity. Ecoregion 805.
Penguin Island. Found in Santa Cruz. Nesting rockhopper penguins and breeding elephant seals. Ecoregions NT 805 and MEOW 185.
Pt. Gutierrez. Found in Chubut. Nesting area for seabirds and penguins. Ecoregion 805.
Pt. Leon. Found in Chubut. Boulder beaches at the foot of 70-meter cliffs containing nesting seabirds. Ecoregions 802 and MEOW 184.
Pt. Loma Nature Reserve. Found in Chubut. A sea lion colony and cormorant rookery. Ecoregion NT 802 and MEOW 184.
Pt. Ninfas. Found in Chubut. Noted for a colony of elephant seals. Ecoregion NT 802 and MEOW 184.
Pt. Piramides Touristic Nature Reserve. Found in Chubut. Ecoregion 805
Pt. Tomba Provincial Reserve. Found in Chubut. Nesting area for 500,000 Magellanic penguins. Ecoregion 805 and MEOW 184.
San Matias Gulf Fish Reserve. Found in Rio Negro. Ecoregion MEOW 184.
San Antonio Bay. Found in Rio Negro. Nesting area for shorebirds. Ecoregion 802.
San Blas Bay Nature Reserve. Found in Buenos Aires province. Ecoregion 806.
San Jose Gulf Provincial Marine Park. Found in Chubut. Ecoregion MEOW 184.
Trelew. Found in Chubut. Welsh villages such as Gaiman extend up the Chubut river valley. The Museo Paleontologico Egidio Feruglio contains dinosaur exhibits. Ecoregion 802.
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