The Expedition

From January 30, 2017, to February 13, 2017, The Waitt Foundation and National Geographic’s Pristine Seas carried out a scientific expedition to the Magallanes region with the goal of studying the marine ecosystems in its fjords and remote islands, and making recommendations to the government of Chile for their conservation and sustainable use.

This expedition relied on the sponsorship of the Chilean Navy and was be part of the celebration of the 200-year anniversary of the Navy, and the 400-year anniversary of the discovery of Cape Horn. Additionally, it fits into the Ministry of Environment’s strategy to study and conserve the Magellan’s region.

Punta Arenas was our point of departure and return of this expedition, which traveled and worked through the Francisco Coloane Marine Park, Tierra del Fuego, the islands of Cape Horn and the islands of Diego Ramirez.

In February of 2018 Chile’s President Michelle Bachelet signed into law protections for nearly 450,000 square miles of water—an area roughly the size of Texas, California and West Virginia combined. Split into three regions, the newly protected areas encompass a stunning range of marine environments, from the spawning grounds of fish to the migratory paths of humpback whales to the nesting grounds of seabirds. We were proud to contribute our data to the people of Chile in order to inform their protections.