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Discover the wild beauty of Patagonia

Solange Passicot

Using non-invasive tools such as camera traps to study, understand and evaluate the behavior of the pumas and other species, the Cerro Guido Conservation Foundation has implemented different actions that promote the coexistence between native wildlife, ranchers, and the tourism industry. Sustainability, community outreach, nature, culture and collaboration have all been defined as key concepts for this initiative.

Through this study and knowledge of the local fauna, the project aims to achieve a healthy coexistence by motivating changes within the livestock industry and protecting the sheep with dogs, in order to preserve the natural cycles of the species that inhabit this place.

Today, Estancia Cerro Guido has about 20 Great Pyrenees and Maremma sheepdogs which are the breeds used in Europe to protect livestock from wolf attacks. Their barking helps to deter pumas from preying on over 18 thousand sheep.

 Photo credit: Pía Vergara

The numbers from 2020, the first year in which this system was implemented, show that the predation of sheeps by pumas in Estancia Cerro Guido was just 1% of the total number of animals on the property, a significant reduction of losses, considering the average loss of sheep due to puma attacks before was around 7% to 10%.

Patagonian Ecosystem Conservation Excursion

The large amount of interest among tourists to observe, photograph and experience first-hand the natural beauty and wildlife of Patagonia, led to an agreement between Tierra Patagonia and Cerro Guido Conservation Foundation. This new pact encourages education, care and protection of the wildlife in the zone, in particular the puma, one of the most sought-after species and often incessantly pursued by those who visit the Magallanes region.

Through this exclusive excursion, guests of Tierra Patagonia, accompanied by a Foundation specialist, go out into nature to learn about the different animal species and native flora of this beautiful place, and how humans can interact and coexist harmoniously among them.

This new excursion aims to create an opportunity for learning and awareness, inviting guests to subtly traverse the area so as not to disturb the environment, while also increasing their chances of naturally spotting different species from a safe distance

Photo credit: Pía Vergara

The excursion begins at sunrise at the cornisas lookout, home to an important community of condors and one of the most incredible views of the Torres del Paine and valley below. It is here where visitors learn about the project that studies and monitors the puma, to help their conservation.

During the excursion guests may observe guanacos, Patagonian rheas, black-chested buzzard eagles, and condors, among other species. They will also get to visit the sheep pastures to see how the gauchos maintain their herds, learn how they work with the Pyrenees mountain dogs who protect the sheep by acting as one of the herd, and experience how the gauchos live and work on the estancia. They’ll see how this project has impacted the gauchos positively, by reducing attacks on their sheep while simultaneously increasing the puma population in the area and returning them to their place on the food chain.

Photo credit: Pía Vergara