Far from past threats, an important colony of South American sea lions dwell in the Punta Pirámides Provincial Reserve.
On the shore opposite Puerto Madryn, within the Nuevo Gulf coastline, lies the Puerto Pirámides provincial reserve.
Due to its particular shape, which resembles the silhouette of a boat, for a long time this place has been used as the scene of maneuvers for the shooting practices of the Argentinian Navy.
This was the main reason for several cliffs and sandbars to be crumbled and destroyed, which has jeopardized the colony of sea lions. But, these mammals have experienced more serious threats, such as being slaughtered for their fur and fat.
In order to revert this situation, hunting permits were canceled more than 20 years ago and the colony began to recover. Nowadays, the reserve operates as the habitat for more than 20,000 specimens, the same amount that was killed each year.
A quiet and safe place to live
Breeding sites for southern sea lions
The steppe area of the peninsula
In Punta Norte, there are still remains of this exploitation. The iron boilers, countless pieces of fur and thousands of bones spread all over the beach are testimonies from those days.
This reserve protects one of the most outstanding rookeries and breeding sites for southern sea lions in the Valdés Peninsula.
The sea lions and their offspring may be watched from a large rocky platform which has the shape of a cliff located dozens of meters over the place occupied by the colony.
According to season, the cliffs area is also visited by the right whales, which find a particular shelter in the coves.
Guanacos and choiques dwell the steppe area of the peninsula, and other animals, such as martinetas, Patagonian hares, foxes, skunks and piches can be found among the bushes. Furthermore, the seagulls, petrels and doves fly over this natural environment.
Karina Jozami Palmiro Bedeschi