Chile inaugurates huge marine reserves

New spaces will preserve vast tracts of land for wildlife and scientific research, prohibiting harmful industry throughout.

As part of his visit to the Los Lagos Region in Southern Chile, former President Sebastián Piñera signed agreements establishing three new protected areas set to conserve wildlife in distinct ecosystems across the south and into the Pacific Ocean.

The president set sail from Punta Yeli to Punta Guala, close to the southern limit of the region approximately 600 miles south of the capital. At the site of the new Tic-Toc Marine National Park, Piñera delivered on a promise made years before as part of the Bicentennial Legacy Program, inaugurating the 200,000 plus square acre reserve.

The extraction of resources and any other harmful industry will be prohibited inside Tic-Toc, preserving the area for scientific study, outdoor sports and, of course, the protection of the local plant and animal life.

At the event in late February, the Chilean head of state also signed into law the protection of more reserves, including one in the Juan Fernandez Islands, the largest of which is Robinson Crusoe Island — believed to have been the inspiration for Daniel Defoe’s famous novel after sailor Alexander Selkirk was stranded there for four years.

“We are doing what is our obligation to do: protect and care for our wildlife and conserve our country,” Piñera said upon confirming the new reserves. “I am convinced that although we currently have 20 percent of our land territory protected, we now need to focus on protecting our seas.”
The president described conservation as more than complying with international regulations, but rather a duty that is owed to future generations.

“We are meeting [our obligation] to our children and our grandchildren to protect and preserve and deliver unto them this marvel that God has given us,” he said.