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Sharks can finally breathe a sigh of relief. Their home in Mexico's Revillagigedo National Park — North America's largest marine protected area — is now protected by none other than the Mexican navy, thanks in large part to a team of dedicated researchers.
This expansive upgrade didn't happen overnight. Rather, the hard work of researchers, who spent years tagging and tracking sharks, has finally translated into political policy, making the park's extension a reality.
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Revillagigedo National Park — also known as the "Galapagos of North America" — protects more than 58,000 square miles (150,000 square kilometers) around the Revillagigedo Archipelago, four volcanic islands about 300 miles (480 km) southwest of Baja Peninsula. Mexico announced the park's creation last November, Live Science previously reported, with the purpose of protecting sharks, giant manta rays, humpback whales, dolphins, fish and migrating birds.
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"It used to be protected 6 miles [10 km] around every island," Mauricio Hoyos-Padilla, who took part in the shark-tagging research as a doctoral student with Mexico's Interdisciplinary Center for Marine Sciences, said in the statement. "But thanks to all the information we gathered about the connectivity between all these islands, we were able to protect 40 square miles [100 square km] around the islands."
This map shows the Revillagigedo Archipelago marine reserve expansion design.
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