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Robinson Crusoe island sets example for the world in conservation

Robinson Crusoe island sets example for the world in conservation
Wikimedia Commons/Diego Sanchez Monroy
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A few hundred kilometres off the Pacific coast of Chile there is a paradise for divers and hikers.

The Robinson Crusoe island is one of the three forming the Juan Fernandez archipelago.

The island chain secured its place in history as the home of Alexander Selkirk, the Scottish sailor marooned there for four years and four months, a tale he later related to Daniel Defoe, who penned his adventure book based on his story.

For almost a century, the inhabitants of Robinson Crusoe have known that their island's fragile ecosystem depends on them conserving its unique wildlife, so they decided about taking steps as early as 1935.

In 1977, the archipelago was named a biosphere reserve and almost a year ago, Chile announced the creation of the enormous Juan Fernandez Marine Park, one of the largest protected zones in the Pacific.

It also connects to a network of marine reserves in Chile totalling some 1.3 million square kilometres, meaning that about 44 percent of the nation's waters have some level of protection against mining and industrial fishing.

"Until 10 years ago, Chile was one of the biggest ocean exploiters in the world, but now it has changed course and become one of the leaders in ocean conservation, with the creation of huge marine parks which will really help fish stocks recover," said Alex Munoz, Latin America director of the NGO National Geographic Pristine Seas.

Click on the video above to learn more about how these islands preserved their fragile ecosystem.