In this Oct. 18, 2018 photo, park rangers Agustin Mezzabotta, right, and Gonzalo Alves stand on a wooden walk way at “Ciervo de los Pantanos” National Park near Buenos Aires, Argentina. Lawmakers in Argentina have designated “Ciervo de los Pantanos” as Argentina’s newest national park. Conservationists say it marks a milestone that will help protect vast swaths of wetlands from invasive real estate development and provide safety for the region’s largest species of deer, which is constantly under threat. (Natacha Pisarenko/Associated Press)

CIERVO DE LOS PANTANOS NATIONAL PARK, Argentina — Just an hour’s drive from one of South America’s most populous cities, a sprawling wetland of bright green marshes and dark lagoons stretches far into the horizon.

The until-now little-known area, home to a wide range of birds, fish and other wildlife, has become Argentina’s newest national park in a victory for nature preservation at a time when the country is facing an economic crisis and governments worldwide are cutting back funding for parks and environmental programs.

Conservationists say creation of the Ciervo de los Pantanos (Marsh Deer) National Park out of two nature preserves will increase resources to protect the more than 5,500 hectares (20 square miles) from real estate development and other threats while creating an open-air classroom for students in the Buenos Aires metropolitan area.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.