Sunday, February 12, 2012

Argentina and Brazil

we have just spent the last four nights at Iguazu on the Argentinian side however took a one day trip to visit the falls on the Brazilian side. Both sides are stunning and breath taking and give completely different views and access to the falls. The Misiones province is one of 23 in Argentina and is where Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina come together at the Iguazu river.

Orange farms have replaced some of the natural rainforest
Prior to the falls we went to an Eco-tourism lodge called Yacutinga, situated about 120km away from the falls, Yacutinga is trying to preserve the natural species of the jungle. The surrounding area of Yacutinga reserve has been capitalized for pine forests, orchards and different manners of export business. This has destroyed a lot of the corridors for species integration between the jungle areas and has found it slow in some ways to develop the natural jungle without complete hands on conservation maneuvers. Yacutinga has been slowly developing for 15years and the forest is aged somewhere around 30 years, they have a long way to go, but the preservation is something I wholeheartedly agree with and the conservation efforts alongside tourism are working very well. Whilst we were there we sponsored an Orchid, Epiphyte that have been wiped out in recent years. The species I sponsored was Octomeria pinicola, which should if successful flower in July and will send us updates and photos.

One of the current issues that both the National Park of Iguazu and the Yacutinga reserve are facing at present is a lack of rain, the last day we were at Yacutinga was the first rain they had seen in over a month and the area immediate to Iguazu has not seen rain for nearly 5 weeks. This for a jungle has huge issues for the wildlife and flora and fauna of the area. The disappearance of butterflies is one of the first indicators of stress on the jungle, many of the species regularly seen were hiding or have moved to another area that has more moisture. It was however still amazing, and though a little quiet on the species front we had a great time and would recommend the lodge to many people.

The National Park around Iguazu actually had many different species in it, seemingly undisturbed and perhaps utilizing the thousands of tourists that come to the falls each week. The falls provide a lot more moisture to the surrounding jungle and therefor allow the species to continue somewhat normality despite the flock of tourists. Many of the animals that are commonly seen around the national park are so due to the cafes for the tourists, these animals will come steal food, beg and generally annoy the tourists, but only due to the tourists taking over and changing the way they would normally behave.

The two photos below depict well the behavioural change. The first photo was a very brief glimpse at Yacutinga, where the Coati were extremely shy. Though not a great photo due to the distance and lighting in the rain forest it shows the natural behaviour. The second photo from Iguazu National Park, shows the Coati again, this time taken with a 12mm lens wide open.

Nasua nasua solitaria, South American Coati, Yacutinga Lodge
Nasua nasua solitaria, South American Coati, Iguazu National Park

Mazam americana, Red Brocket Deer,  Yacutinga Lodge

Reptile, Iguazu National Park
There is a lot more I would like to say about the area and will be coming in future blog posts as I work through more pictures. Tomorrow we fly to Buenos Aires to connect through to Ushuaia, the southern most part of Argentina.

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