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Choros Island, Chile
Protecting the Globally Vulnerable Humboldt Penguin and Endangered Peruvian Diving-petrel on a desert island.
Choros Island is situated 600 km north of the Chilean capital, Santiago. Choros island is covered in vegetation characteristic of the Humboldt Current coastal ecosystem, comprised mainly of cactus and low growing herbaceous plants and shrubs. The island consists of a long, thin central ridgeline which slopes down to a marine terrace, rising 50 to 75 meters above of the Pacific Ocean. The island is part of the Reserva Nacional Pingüino de Humboldt, a Chilean national reserve managed by La Corporación Nacional Forestal (CONAF), the government entity which manages Chile’s protected areas.

Hundreds of thousands of tourists visit Choros Island each year to enjoy the bird and animal life which flock to the island for breeding and food.  Ecotourism has become increasingly important to the local economy as more and more visitors seek to enjoy the whales, dolphins, sea lions, and seabirds present within the reserve.

Choros supports a breeding colony of the globally threatened Humboldt Penguin—a burrow nesting seabird that is sensitive to habitat disturbance. Approximately 80% of the world’s population of the vulnerable Humboldt Penguin breeds within the Reserva Nacional Pingüino de Humboldt. The island is also one of four islands in Chile where the endangered Peruvian Diving-petrel nests, with at least 10% of the world’s population breeding there. 

Choros Island is also an important site for conserving vegetation.  A number of flowering plant species found only within in the reserve have managed to eke out an existence on Choros, despite the presence of invasive European rabbits.  Introduced rabbits have denuded vegetation and prevent seabird nesting through competition for and damage to burrows. In collaboration with CONAF, Island Conservation is undertaking a rabbit removal project on the island which will save the endangered Peruvian Diving-petrel and allow all of the native species on Choros to thrive.
Choros Island, Chile

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