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Chile will create a large national park to protect the country’s hundreds of glaciers melting because of climate change, Agence France-Presse reported.
The new National Glacier Park will cover more than 185,000 acres of the Andes mountain about 40 miles from the capital, Santiago.
Outgoing President Sebastian Pinera hailed the park as “a fundamental step that our country is taking to combat the destruction of nature.” He said the initiative will protect 368 glaciers, as well as preserve species native to the region, such as pumas and foxes.
The president added that the glaciers hold 32 times more water than the reservoir that serves Santiago’s seven million population.
The park’s establishment comes amid global concern that the warming climate is melting glaciers around the world. A study by the University of Chile found that glaciers in the central part of the country – where the park is also located – are shrinking because of global warming.
Chile ranks among the top 10 nations in the world in terms of glacier surface area. The list also includes Canada, the United States, China and Russia.