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Found 5 results

  1. Dear members. I will be on friday morning in Torres del Paine National Park, to track pumas with a specialized guide. I just can´t wait to be there, this is the best fauna trip ever in Patagonia, THE trip I want to organize since the settlement in Chile 4 years ago... We hope to see huemules too... The park si located just south from the Hielo Sur, the biggest Ice field outside the poles. It is one of the best preserved patagonian steppe landscape in Southern Patagonia. Land of sub-antartic woods, glacial lakes, huge guanacos herds, endangered huemules or patagonian deers, the jewel of the park is definitely the Paine Range. Some few pictures available on this nature forum: http://www.fotonaturaleza.cl/especies.php?action=galeria_especie&cod_nivel1=1&cod_nivel2=12&cod_nivel3=60&cod_esp=63 We will stay at Pehoe Hotel at less than half an hour from the best place to spot puma. The guide is Roberto Donoso from http://www.patagoniajourneys.com. Safaris are also offered by another famous company I really like in Chile: www.natphoto.cl. I'll prepare a short trip report few weeks later. Cheers, Jeremie
  2. Following on from @@pomkiwi excellent report of their trip here is the story of our first visit to South America. Being avid African fans we knew the trip would probably not include a lot of wildlife but we were quite impressed with the animals and birds we saw but even more so by the astounding scenery. After a lot of research we decided to use Argentina as the destination country rather than Chile and made all our transfers in and out of Buenos Aires. We got an excellent Business Class fare that was almost the same price as Premium Economy! We flew from London to Buenos Aires via Amsterdam with KLM and arrived at 8am on 19 February 2017. We used the Mine Hotel in Palermo Soho as our base in Buenos Aires for the trip returning there before our visit to the Iguazu Falls and again at the end for a three day stay which allowed us to explore Buenos Aires at a more leisurely pace. A great little hotel. We were able to leave luggage there as the flight to El Calafate and onward to Bariloche had a reduced luggage allowance compared to our international flights. We had booked our trip ourselves, as we usually do, and planned a week in southern Patagonia, 12 nights in the Argentinian/Chilean Lake District especially to see the active volcanoes and 3 nights in Brazil at the Iguazu Falls. Booking the accommodation, hiring the cars and communications were very easy despite our lack of Spanish. Everyone spoke excellent English and we felt very welcome everywhere. The following morning we flew to El Calafate and picked up our hire car. We planned a trip into Chile where we would stay in Torres del Paine NP. First of all we put a day aside to visit the Perito Moreno Glacier which is only 100kms or so from El Calafate. We used Posada Karut Josh as our base in El Calafate, at only US$ 60 per night B&B it is a beautiful little family run place, and the host Frederico cooks amazing food. After a good nights rest we set off for the glacier. A fuel shortage in town caused some anxiety as we knew if we made the 200km round trip we might not have enough fuel to get to Chile the next day. Fingers crossed it would all work out we set off. It was wonderful to be self driving on a new continent and the roads were well maintained and easy. We soon started seeing snow covered mountains in the distance. The sun was shining, the sky blue and there was hardly any other vehicles on the road. A stop on the way delivered our first Caracara, a very relaxed and photogenic bird.
  3. Dear friends, I don't think this is the right place to post this here, but I really have no idea in which section I should post the following petition. https://www.change.org/p/minagricl-detengan-la-caza-de-500-guanacos-en-torres-del-paine?recruiter=12523633& We discovered few days ago with some chilean photographers friends of mine, that the Chilean authorities (SAG is in charge of wildlife outside protected areas), decided to allow hunting of 500 male guanacos just outside Torres del Paine National Park. I am absolutely not against culling ungulates to regulate populations, but in this very particular case, I think this is definitely not the right decision. It seems that the process was not transparent at all, there was a total lack of communication about it. Only one enterprise is allowed to hunt these guanacos and process their meat, which is the same that is at the origin of this proposal. It seems there is a conflict of interest. It is clear this enterprise will make some money and we might imagine that it pushed the SAG to permit hunting in this area. Inside Torres del Paine National Park, it appears that the native guanaco population is stable and thus controlled by pumas (the guanaco main predator), according to the anual surveys led by the park in the last 30 years. On the other hand, the population just outside the park is still increasing, which means it has not reached the carrying capacity of the ecosystem. One would think that the SAG decided to go on for culling because guanacos reached the carrying capacity of the ecosystem. However, according to a study from 2011, there is an estimated 12.000 guanacos just outside the park, sharing the habitat with about 130.000 sheeps. There are also thousands of horses and cows. The main purpose of this study was to investigate the posible competition between sheep and guanacos, its conclusion is that the competition is very limited. (https://www.uam.es/departamentos/ciencias/ecologia/Posgrado%20en%20Ecologia/Tesis%20Leidas/Tesis%20Maestria%20(TFM)/Leidas%202011/Esperanza%20Iranzo.pdf) I am thus very sceptic about the reasons that pushed the SAG to allow hunting around the park. We then decided to launch a petition to the government, we are asking to see the evidences that led to this decision and we wold like to reverse the decision. Please sign and share the petition if you are against culling these animals. Further data: I have some few problems with data, while CONAF (The chilean authorities in charge of managing Torres del Paine National Park) states there are around 4000 guanacos inside the park and the same number just outside the park, this study concluded there were 7000 guanacos inside the park and 12.000 outside the park (upper limit of the estimations). If the real number is 4000 guanacos, this would mean one eighth of the guanacos would be killed, which is much higher that the natality rate for this population. Raedeke once estimated that before the europeans colonization of Patagonia, there was around 30 to 50 millions animals roaming in the steppes of South America. The IUCN best estimations in 2014 were considering a total of < 600.000 guanacos in South America, but two recent studies (http://inta.gob.ar/sites/default/files/script-tmp-inta_distribucin_y_densidad_de_guanacos_2015.pdf) and (https://zoologicalstudies.springeropen.com/articles/10.1186/s40555-014-0097-0) concluded that the previous numbers were underestimates for Santa Cruz province, Argentina. In fact, it was considering 2 animals per km2, whereas the two last studies, determined that the density for this province is actually 4 animals per km2. Given these new studies, the IUCN updated its estimations in 2015 and are now considering that there are 2 millions animals in the wild. In Chile, the animal is scarce but present in the North of the countries, which is mainly found in the first steps of the Andes and on the coast of the Atacama desert. The animal was almost extirpated in the centre of the country and numbers are slowly increasing. In the South of the country, there is an estimated 5000 guanacos for Aysen Region, mainly residing inside the future Patagonia National Park. The stronghold for Chile is located inside the Magallanes Region, where 60.000 animals are estimated to reside. Magallanes main guanaco population is found in Tierra de Fuego. I have problems with estimations. I have read that there is an estimated 200.000 animals between Chilean and Argentinean Tierra de Fuego, but other guesses states there are 40.000 animals on the larger chilean side... In Continental Magallanes, the animals are mainly located around Torres del Paine, and around San Gregorio, close to the Pali Aike National Park. Whatever the number, the densities for Continental Magallanes are significantly lower than Tierra de Fuego's densities. I then think there is still sufficient space for these animals in Patagonia and thus culling is not an option right now.
  4. Working as a wildlife photographer and guide has led me to many great experiences and findings. I was among the firsts to start guiding for jaguars in the Pantanal, then I found a great place for ocelots... but another great cat remained a mistery to me, the puma, also known as mountain lion or cougar in North America. This cat, recently described at a National Geographic article as the "phantom cat", is rarely seen by anyone, despite their huge range and variety of habitats where they occur. Up until this trip, I only had a couple pictures of pumas made with camera traps. I haven't even seen it live with my eyes. Last year I planned a scouting trip to find pumas in Torres del Paine National Park, southern Chile, and it was a great success. So, here's a quick report with some pics: Our amazing hotel inside the National Park, surrounded by beautiful huge mountains and minutes away from the best puma areas. The world famous Las Torres granite peaks at first light. This is the most impressive mountain I have ever seen. We had breakfast at the field overlooking this scenery unfold a different way each morning. As expected, the search for pumas wasn't easy and demanded patience and a lot of hours in the field. The terrain is vast and the "ghost cats" sure know how to hide. Not that searching in places like this is exactly boring though In the meantime we found some great birds to photograph, like this White-tufted Grebe. And the ever-present Guanacos, a relative of the camels. They represent the main prey of pumas in this part of the Andes. I will continue this report later today...
  5. The "Ghost Cats", as National Geographic titles a recent article about the Puma, one of the most widespread of all the cats, but also one of the most difficult to actually see in the wild. As this same article says later on: "These largely nocturnal cats are so secretive that camera traps are one of the best ways to illuminate their lives". This is about to change, though. I have scouted a place, the best local guides and a way to actually see and approach these gorgeous cats in plain daylight to get photos of a lifetime. If this wasn't enought, this new exclusive tour happens in one of the most beautiful places on Earth, the Torres del Paine N.P. and surrounding areas in Chilean Patagonia. Our itinerary, unique among all operators, is the first one designed with the main goal of producing great photographs of wild Pumas. This is probably the first ever photo tour for this elusive species, and the actual chances of finding them during the trip are very high. Our very small group will be guided by the absolute best Puma trackers in the region while we explore the amazing scenery of Torres del Paine in search of the ultimate Andean predator. - Only 6 photographers per tour. A small group guarantees quality and flexibility. - The best trackers in the region, with keen eyes for spotting Pumas and deep knowledge of their habits and how to find them. - Very high chances for great encounters. - Every guest, trackers and me will have a personal communication radio, so we have freedom to explore the area without risking missing anything, or to split the group in two to increase our chances. - Gorgeous hotel inside the park, minutes from the best Puma areas. - One morning also photographing beautiful horses running in a nearby estancia. - Non-photographers are also welcomed! Date: March 15 to 22nd of 2015. Fee: US$ 6,899 per person. To know more about this tour please visit my website at www.octaviosalles.com.br or go straight to this PDF for more details. Very limited spots, so if you want to photograph a wild Puma make sure to book early.

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