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For almost a century, the inhabitants of Robinson Crusoe -- named for literature's most famous castaway -- have known that their island's fragile ecosystem depends on them conserving its unique wildlife. One of three islands in the Juan Fernandez archipelago, 700 kilometers off the Pacific coast of Chile, it was discovered in the 16th century.It also connects to a network of marine reserves in Chile totaling some 1.3 million square kilometers, meaning that about 44 percent of the nation's waters have some level of protection against mining and industrial fishing.The wildlife of these remote islands faces various threats, including ocean trash -- in particular plastic -- and invasive species that have been introduced to the fragile ecosystem of Juan Fernandez, home to around 1,000 people.Cats, rats and coatis (a type of South American raccoon) are the main hazard for the Juan Fernandez firecrown, a type of hummingbird found only in the islands, and whose eggs and chicks are easy prey.They are also a threat to the pink-footed shearwater, a migratory seabird which only nests in the archipelago, where there are 35,000 pairs, and on Mocha Island, close to the mainland, where there are 60,000 breeding pairs.There are other notable success stories: the South American fur seal, a species that was almost extinct 40 years ago, now has a population of 30,000 on the islands.
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