Peninsula Valdés (World Heritage)

Peninsula Valdés (World Heritage)

Peninsula Valdés (World Heritage), the Peninsula Valdés, around 1400 km south of Buenos Aires, is an important protected area for marine mammals such as sea lions and elephant seals.

Southern right whales and orcas also cavort in the coastal waters. Inside you will encounter rheas, wild llamas and pampas hares.

Peninsula Valdés: facts

Official title: Peninsula Valdés
Natural monument: Marine reserve Golfo San José, nature reserves Punta Norte, Isla de Los Pájaros, Punta Pirámide, Caleta Valdés, Punta Delgada, Península Valdés, partly under protection since 1983, since 1985 special protection for the southern right whale, area 3600 km² with heights between 35 and 100 m, semi-arid climate with average rainfall of up to 240 mm, first discovered in 1779
Continent: America
Country: Argentina, Patagonia
Location: Península Valdés between Golfo Nuevo and Golfo San Matías, northeast of Rawson and southeast of Puerto Lobos Significance: Of global importance for the conservation of marine mammals such as the southern elephant seal and southern right whale (southern right whale)
Appointment: 1999
Meaning: of global importance for the conservation of marine mammals such as the southern elephant seal and southern right whale (southern right whale)
Flora and fauna: 130 plant species, 38 of which only occur in Argentina; approximately 2,700 southern right whale, southern elephant seal, orca, peales’ dolphin, dark dolphin, Commerson’s dolphin, long-fin pilot whale, pampas hare, magellan fox, 80,000 sheep; 118 bird species, including 66 migratory bird species and 40,000 nesting sites for Magellanic penguins, 6,000 nesting sites for Dominican gulls, as well as common tern, red knot and American godwit

A zoo without guards and bars

The massive, black body rises slowly from the depths of the sea. As if in slow motion, as if lifted up by telluric forces, the mighty baleen whale rears up and falls back into the water with fountains hissing in all directions. Another flips over downwards. The five-meter-wide tail fin floats majestically in the air for a moment and then slowly dives away. From boats that lie silently in the bay, spectators watch the fascinating dance of the fifty-toners. Every year in the late autumn of the southern hemisphere, i.e. in April / May, hundreds of southern right whales come from Antarctic waters to the mild and calm bays of the Valdés peninsula: the Golfo Nuevo and the Golfo San José. They stay in this immense natural “zoo” for six to seven months, in which there is no need for bars or guards. They indulge in the eternal game of creation, give birth to their young and then withdraw to the cold south again towards the end of the year.

From observation towers that have been erected here and there on the flat headland covered with barren scrub and steppe grass, visitors can watch the flocks of wildly screeching seagulls, stoically waiting herons and cormorants through binoculars. Every now and then an Argentine gray fox or a guanaco can be seen. On the east coast, which faces the Atlantic, numerous colonies of southern elephant seals and southern sea lions can be found from Punta Norte to Punta Delgada. Hundreds of them lie on the beach like nowhere else on the mainland and do not let themselves be disturbed during their siesta. With large, dark eyes, females and young animals peer into the cameras, which they photograph from a suitable distance. Meanwhile, »machos« weighing tons are waging their power struggles among themselves.

The Golfo San José, on the northern shore of the peninsula, is once a year, around March, the meeting place for killer whales, also known as orcas or (unfortunately) as »killer whales«. Fish, penguins, seals, even sea turtles and sharks all show them respect. Because they all belong to the menu of these mammals, which, unlike the other whales, have sharp teeth with 44 pointed, hook-shaped teeth.

The fact that the diverse fauna on the Valdés peninsula and in the adjacent waters can feel safe is thanks to a law from the late 1960s, which declared this area an open nature reserve. The observation of baleen whales on boats that only leave the small town of Puerto Pirámides has since been subject to strict regulations and controls. This is to guarantee an undisturbed reproduction of the species.

In earlier centuries, scientists estimate that around 100,000 southern right whales populated the oceans of the southern hemisphere. The merciless hunt of the whalers almost completely wiped them out. For this reason, they were first included in the 1936 International Whaling Agreement, along with bowhead whales, northern capers and other species. In the case of the southern right whales outside Argentina’s territory, however, according to ezinereligion, the extermination campaign lasted until the mid-1980s. Local researchers have recently been busy identifying the giant mammals. This is possible thanks to the existence of light skin bulges on the head, which have a different shape for each specimen. This characteristic is already visible when the animals are born and does not change over the course of their 60 to 70 years of life.

Peninsula Valdés (World Heritage)

Comments are closed.