Monday, March 7, 2016

A short walk around Lapataia

Lapataia river is an easily accessible area in the Tierra del Fuego national park that offers several short walks around the river.

In addition there is an abundance of animals (both native and introduced) around this area.

Sadly, many of the animals are far too acclimatised to humans as a source of food - so their presence is more opportunistic than natural. For example a native Patagonian fox was hassling tourists for food just outside of the lake area - and stupidly, despite lots of signs, idiot tourists couldn't help but feed it.


Patagonian fox

There are lots of trails, offering views of the different landscapes around the river - including several lookouts that give great views of the water.


From the river there is a fairly easy trail that leads alongside Route 3 though stands of myrtle and sphagnum moss bogs.


Myrtle trees
The trail opens out

Sadly much of this area has been damaged by introduced species.


Horses on the trail

Animals, such as horses, have changed the landscape from stands of trees to wider open grasslands.


Grasslands
The "Turba" trail

One of the most destructive introduced species is the Canadian beaver.

These animals have devastated trees and their damming of rivers has altered the flow of the rivers causing them to silt.


Beaver dam
Destruction wrought by beavers

I was told that the beavers were spreading North and that some had been seen as far North as Punta Areanas.


Beaver
Beaver swimming

The visible damage of introduced species around this section of the park, and the changes in animal behaviour because of ignorant tourists is a great pity in this beautiful part of the world - and reminds us just how fragile nature is.