Península Valdés Facts: Things You Might Not Have Heard Before | Kidadl


Península Valdés Facts: Things You Might Not Have Heard Before

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Península Valdés is known to be the natural habitat of several marine mammals, such as the endangered southern right whale.

Península Valdés is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The site is worshiped by wildlife enthusiasts worldwide due, to the abundance of marine wildlife present.

The peninsula stretches over 1400 sq mi (3.62 sq m) in Argentina, along the Atlantic coast. It has a unique structure and formation, as it separates the Nuevo (south) gulf and San José (north) gulf by running into the northeast Chubut province in the Atlantic. The Nuevo gulf and San Jose gulf lie to the south and north of the peninsula, respectively. On the southeastern coast, the peninsula includes one of its lowest points, 131 ft (40 m) below sea level. The San Jose Gulf is, in fact, a wildlife sanctuary in itself (declared so in 1974). In 1999, Península Valdés was given the status of a World Heritage Site.

The peninsula is home to many animals, including sea lions, orcas (also known as killer whales), and elephant seals. You can also find large colonies of penguins as well. Huge whales can be spotted from the coastal beaches, meandering off the gulfs. Every year these animals and mammals come to this island-like place to mate and raise their young in the peninsula's protected waters.

Península Valdés looks almost like an island. There are active sand dunes in its dynamic coastal zone, along with the presence of lagoons, many cliffs, and bays. The interior of the peninsula is similar to the desert steppe. Punta Delgada dorms in the southeastern part of the peninsula.

Marine Wildlife

Península Valdés is famous for its coastline, that is long and vibrant. It does have grasslands, but with hardly any vegetation or trees to provide shelter for animals or humans. It features many rocky reefs, hidden inlets, and tall cliffs, all surrounded by crashing surf. The peninsula gives shelter to valuable wildlife, especially marine wildlife, such as seals, sea lions, whales, and penguins.

The peninsula has many animals apart from marine life, such as birds. Península Valdés is a haven for elephant seals, sea lions, dolphins, penguins, and the southern right whale. In fact, if you are a wildlife lover, then whale watching is one of the most popular activities on the peninsula, and so Península Valdés is a must-see if you are visiting Argentina.

Dolphins are prominent on the peninsula. However, the dolphins here may be mistaken for Orcas. The dolphins live in the water and are mostly seen between December and March. On the peninsula, if you want to watch dolphins, then do so at the Playa Union spot, as it is considered to be one of the best spots for dolphin watching.

Southern right whales are one of the most-watched and coveted marine species of the peninsula. These whales arrive in June, so the best time for whale watching would be June, and as the month progresses, the number of whales increases. In fact, in September and October, many whales can be seen. The southern right whale, Eubalaena australis, uses the protected waters of Golfo San José and Golfo Nuevo to calve and mate. Individual whales start their journey to the peninsula in fall and are there from May to December, but again, for whale watching, the best time would be from August to October. In fact, since 1990, when 1200 whales had visited the peninsula, the number has been increasing.

Orcas breed in the protected waters of this peninsula perennially, and their feeding season is rather popular, which occurs during the summer season, somewhere between early April and late September. To see the best view, try visiting some of the high vantage points along the jagged coast at Punta Norte. Although, Orcas can be spotted off the coast as well as from the peninsula in the open sea. Orcas usually capture elephant seals and sea lions. Orcas are known to be predators who feed on fish and squid as well as elephant seals and sea lions. In fact, Orcas also take on adult whales on the peninsula too!

When Orcas hunt, they often go into shallow surf, beach themselves, and then grab the prey into their jaw and maneuver it back to the ocean with the next wave. In this process, the Orcas can get stranded, so it is risky, but can be quite a spectacle to observe.

The inner part of Península Valdés is home to guanacos, rheas, and maras, along with other small whales and dolphins. A range of diverse birds also inhabits the peninsula, with at least 181 bird species, out of which 66 are migratory.

Facts For Tourists

The best way to reach the peninsula, is from its chief settlement of Puerto Madryn. This is one of the great places to start from a wide array of other transportation and accommodation options, such as contemporary hotels, remote ranches, and friendly eco-lodges. Puerto Madryn is a region lying just outside Península Valdés and is one of the largest in the area. The area was discovered by Welsh settlers and is often termed to be the entrance to Península Valdés. Puerto Madryn is also known as the jumping point while traveling to Patagonia and houses many outdoor activities in one of the most serene and pristine environments on the continent. To visit there, you can take a 2-hour flight from Buenos Aires. You can book a day tour of Península Valdés.

The Puerto Madryn region falls south of the peninsula along with Trelew. Trelew is a small town that was again founded by the Welsh and is a mesmerizing place to visit. The intricate architecture and charming tearooms are a delight, while you travel overland in this region. The best attraction, however, is the Paleontology museum, which can help you learn the history of dinosaurs. Trelew is regarded as one of the most important regions that were once home to the largest creatures that ever walked this land, the dinosaurs.

Península Valdés has some really exciting opportunities for tourists in any location to view its three very iconic marine mammals; whales (Southern Right), Orcas, and elephant seals. Apart from these three primary creatures, you can also visit the peninsula to see animals such as sea lions, penguins, armadillo, rhea and mara, and Patagonian terrestrial animals such as guanaco. For a wildlife lover, this place is a real treat!

Conservation Steps Being Taken

The legislation for conservation and protection of the fauna and flora on the peninsula is as follows.

There are many conservation projects in the area, to protect the local fauna and flora. One of the most significat conservation efforts in the peninsula, include the ongoing recovery of the southern right whale. Their numbers were steadily decreasing, thanks to whale hunting in the area, but due to conservation efforts, the southern right whale is increasing in numbers. These whales regularly return to the peninsula to mate and raise their young.

Similarly, conservation efforts in the peninsula have also contributed to increasing numbers of southern elephant seals and southern sea lions. The waters in the peninsula are protected, so these marine mammals can safely breed and raise their young in these waters.

The Let's Protect Patagonia Foundation (Fundación Protejamos Patagonia) works toward promoting the necessary environmental action on the peninsula and protecting the World Heritage status of the site. The foundation was formed by the residents themselves and promotes projects that help resolve the conflict between the native fauna and farmers. The foundation aims to formulate a balance or coexistence between the survival of plants and livestock foundation, given the benefits of wildlife observation and ecotourism in the area. As a matter of fact, several farmers have turned their focus from farming to conservation, ecotourism, and sustainability.

The peninsula stretches over 1400 sq mi

Site Statistics

The geographical proximity to Península Valdés is plenty. A group of Ptolemaic-Roman temples has existed on the island of Agilkia since the '70s, as well as on the island of Philae.

The peninsula is known as Atlantic Patagonia as it shares the weather of the beautiful southern lands. In fact, this site was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999 as well. The Nuevo gulf and the San Jose gulf lie on the south and north of Península Valdés, respectively, and whales return to these gulfs to mate and raise their young.

The southern side of the peninsula is near the South Atlantic, and the waters there are shallow, warm, and calm. The vegetation there is dominant in Patagonian and steppe scrub, but 18 different high diversity vegetation can be found that demonstrate the phytogeographic importance in Patagonia. Over 130 plants from 41 families, along with 38 different animal species, inhabit the peninsula.

The northern side, on the other hand, encloses the embayment of Golfo San José, which is also linked via a small passage to the San Matias Gulf. On the south of the gulf lies Ameghino Isthmus, which connects the mainland to the peninsula and also separates the Golfo Nuevo and Golfo San Jose. These gulfs are enclosed by the mainland coast of Chubut province and peninsula.

On the eastern end lies the Caleta Valdes, which is a long lagoon-like inlet with four islets in its northern half.


Who discovered Península Valdés?

A: Unfortunately, it is not known who discovered Península Valdés. It is a natural habitat for many flora and fauna, so we can assume it was formed naturally.

Why is Península Valdés important?

A: Península Valdés is one of the most significant sites globally, as it is the home of many marine mammals. It acts as the breeding ground for the endangered southern right whale, southern sea lions, as well as the southern elephant seal. These factors led to it being named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

How do I get to Península Valdés?

A: To reach Península Valdés, you can arrive from two ways; Trelew and Puerto Madryn (from either of their airports). From each of these two places, there are two-hour flights from Buenos Aires. Note that Puerto Madryn is closer to the peninsula, but the frequency of flights from Trelew is more regular.

What is the elevation of Península Valdés?

A: The elevation of Península Valdés is 131 ft (40 m) below sea level. This is the lowest point on the southeastern coast of Argentina.

Where is Península Valdés?

A: Península Valdés is in Chubut province in Argentina and it stretches along the South Atlantic Ocean.

When is the best time to visit Península Valdés?

A: You can visit the peninsula throughout the year. From January to March, you can see many birds, elephant seals, and sea lions. The same continues from April to June. However, October to December is when most of the wildlife is seen on the peninsula, which would be an ideal time to visit the peninsula, especially for whale watching.

How do you get to Puerto Madryn?

A: You can get there by car, plane, or bus.

How does Península Valdés protect its fauna and flora?

A: There are numerous conservation efforts taking place in the area to protect and preserve animal and plant life. The southern right whale has increased in numbers thanks to the work taking place in the peninsula. Similarly, conservation efforts in the peninsula have also contributed to increasing numbers of southern elephant seals and southern sea lions. The waters in the peninsula are protected, so these marine mammals can safely breed and raise their young in these waters.

How long is Península Valdés?

A: It is 15,800 mi (15,427 km) long.

<p>With a wealth of international experience spanning Europe, Africa, North America, and the Middle East, Anusuya brings a unique perspective to her work as a Content Assistant and Content Updating Coordinator. She holds a law degree from India and has practiced law in India and Kuwait. Anusuya is a fan of rap music and enjoys a good cup of coffee in her free time. Currently, she is working on her novel, "Mr. Ivory Merchant".</p>

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