Discover Our Reserve


In 2010, around 90 king penguins (Aptenodytes patagonicus) unexpectedly arrived on the Fuegian coast. Installed in the Bahía Inútil area, they began to change feathers and make reproductive attempts. These specimens drew attention for their beauty and bearing, however, the lack of knowledge generated that people who passed through the area wanted to touch them and take “selfies” with them. This caused that of the initial group, only eight penguins stayed in the place.

This is why our founder, Cecilia Durán, took a personal mission to protect these eight king penguins. Together with the marine biologist Alejandro Kusch, they established the first conservation measures, in order to raise awareness in the community about the importance of the presence of this species in Tierra del Fuego.

Over the weeks, this private conservation initiative drew the attention of biologists, archaeologists, veterinarians and people linked to tourism, who joined Cecilia’s mission,
which allowed to lay the foundations for the protection of the king penguin and the preservation of the archaeological sites in Bahía Inútil.

In mid-2011, we officially opened with the name of “Parque Pingüino Rey” (King Penguin Park.) Since then, this population has gradually increased with two important milestones for this colony: The birth of the first chicks in 2013 and the independence of the first chick in 2015.

In 2020 we changed our name to “Reserva Natural Pingüino Rey” (King Penguin Nature Reserve,) in order to formally incorporate more conservation approaches. Currently, the “Project for the Conservation of Biodiversity and Archaeological Vestiges of Bahía Inútil” considers the protection and study of flora, fauna and archeology. With the incorporation of renewable energies, the use of biodegradable products and waste management, we hope to contribute to reducing the footprint left by humans.

We invite you to learn about our private conservation initiative and to connect with this wonderful territory, Tierra del Fuego.

Our Spirit

Implementar nuevas investigaciones y métodos de estudio para poder conocer en detalle la flora y fauna en Bahía Inútil, así otorgar a nuestros visitantes mayor vivencia en el lugar. Con ello, generar redes educativas juntos a actores de conservación de la Región de Magallanes, promoviendo el aprecio por el patrimonio natural y cultural que nos rodea.







About Us

Imagine for a moment the following scenario: that from one day to another a group of penguins decides to visit the patio of your house and stay there. That happened to Cecilia Duran and her family. The next question for them was: What do we do now? Fortunately, there was only one answer: We must protect them.

Our founder speaks with conviction, with the clarity of years of working in a project that began as a dream in 2010, when the King Penguin established in Tierra del Fuego, specifically in Bahía Inútil. Since then, the colony has shown a gradual increase, thanks to the protection established in that settlement.

“My husband’s family has been dedicated to the livestock activity since the 1960’s, in Tierra del Fuego. Ten years ago we started observing the increasing presence of the King Penguin, which attracted the presence and curiosity of third parties. These people provoked our first reaction, which was transformed over time into a project to protect the penguins,” as Cecilia remembers. She also tells that over time, techniques and procedures have been implemented that allow the coexistence of tourism and preservation, a process that implies being permanently safeguarding the king penguin’s habitat in Bahía Inútil.

On what would have happened to the penguins of Bahía Inútil without this protection, Cecilia is categorical: "They simply would not be there. The presence of third parties was manifestly harmful to the species, with totally inappropriate behavior. " Regarding what has involved for the family to undertake this project, she points out that, in the first place, a great personal effort, since it is an activity a little foreign to the livestock activity. "Day by day is quite complex, but in the long run an important family satisfaction is reached when we appreciate that we have adapted, with enough recognition, to this new reality."

When asked about what she feels about seeing the Reserve, Cecilia does not doubt: "A lot of satisfaction". And she adds that not only have the penguins been protected, but there is an important presence of archaeological remains and native flora in the area, as well as a diversity of birds and marine species, which make a natural life set that is preserved in the best possible way, allocating for it a large part of the resources generated by the Reserve.

Finally, she sends a message to those who wish to visit Pingüino Rey Natural Reserve: "This is unique, at least in Tierra del Fuego, therefore, it is worth knowing and valuing."

"This is unique, at least in Tierra del Fuego, therefore, it is worth knowing and valuing".

Cecilia Durán, Founder of Pingüino Rey Natural Reserve.


Tierra del Fuego. "Land of Fires" or "Land of Smoke", as initially called by Hernando de Magallanes in 1520, when he saw far away, dozens of fires lit by the Selk'nam. Tierra del Fuego, enigmatic territory. Beautiful and inhospitable land. To visit it means entering in its rich history and in a predominant climate of beautiful adversity: Wind, rain and snow.

Today, the big island of Tierra del Fuego is shared by Chile and Argentina. In the Chilean area, Tierra del Fuego is a province with 22,593 km² of surface and has close to 9 thousand inhabitants. Its capital is the city of Porvenir. It is in this land where the King Penguin decided to settle. Specifically, in Bahía Inútil.

Bahía Inútil is located on the western coast of the Tierra del Fuego. Its name was given in 1827 by Captain Phillip Parker King, who found that the bay offered no possibilities of "neither anchoring nor shelter, nor any other advantage for the navigator". Hence the "useless" (Bahía Inútil means “useless bay” in Spanish.)

During the last glaciation, there were large glaciers that completely covered the bay. Currently, it is an extensive bay bordered by flat coasts, with a coastal path.

Bahía Inútil is a renowned archaeological area in Tierra del Fuego, with human occupation dating back to 6,000 years. The highest density of archaeological sites in the area is concentrated on the coast, accounting for a total of 62 in Bahía Inútil, 12 of them are in the reserve area.

In this historical and geographical setting of Tierra del Fuego the king penguin today lives protected, as it deserves.