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ARGENTINA TRAVEL NEWS

June 30th, 2008


ECOLOGY AND TOURISM IN A PERFECT COMBINATION IN THE NATIONAL PARK OF IGUASSU FALLS IN ARGENTINA

Eduardo Arrabal is the owner and creator of the Iguassu Jungle Lodge inside the area of the Iguassu Falls National Park in Argentina. Yes, creator, since he built it in what used to be an abandoned stone quarry inside the area, thus turning a dry and degraded terrain into a place for resting and recreation.
"I believe that this is the way and the manner that one should choose to develop. When I look across the river (to the Brazilian side) all I see are soybean plantations and cities that do not correspond to our way of life" he says. And so he built six cabins and three lofts with green roofs, just by the edge of the jungle facing a huge stone wall from the old quarry. And he has made an agreement with the Park authorities to work a concession of a series of trails and river routes where one can appreciate nature and the force of the waterfalls. One of them is called the "Great Adventure", in which the visitors venture into the jungle in four wheel drive cars for an 8 kms trip until they reach the river where they get into a twin engine outboard boat that will take them to the area called the "Devil’s Throat", where the noise and the spectacle of these extraordinary waterfalls can be appreciated at its best.



June 27th, 2008


A YEAR IN MY LIFE AT THE END OF THE WORLD - 400 DAYS LIVING AT THE ORCADAS ISLANDS

You look at a map and you have to look twice before you can see the spots that make up the Orcadas islands, South of the South American continent. Hard to see, and even harder to believe that they make up the work place and temporary home of a group of people that stay there for as period of up to 400 days. In spite of this, the list of people and scientists willing to go there has made it imperative to make a selection process in order to make sure that only people with the right qualifications go there. After a process that takes more than four years of tests and qualifications the chosen few are sent to man the scientific station on the islands. Apart from checking the GPS satellite positioning and continental drift and sending daily reports regarding these measurements the main activities includes the monitoring of penguin rookeries found in the area. But during your time off there is the possibility to watch Satellite TV, play pool or ping pong and browse through the library or work put in the gym. Saturday nights are (frozen?) pizza nights.



June 26th, 2008


ARGENTINA IMPOSES TOTAL AND PERMANENT BAN ON FISHING SOUTH OF THE MALVINAS ISLANDS

The Argentinean Federal Council of Fisheries, decided to impose a "total and permanent ban" on fishing on the so called Burwood Bank, located South of the Malvinas Islands, also known as the Falklands. The ban was imposed in order to preserve the biodiversity and the conservation of the ocean floor, in agreement with directives agreed on with FAO. The Burwood Bank at latitude 54.25 and longitude 59.0 is an area, which has preserved its floor in good condition, where one can find rare low growing and very sensible cold water corals, which are present due to the very nutrient rich waters found in that area. This is one of very few areas with similar characteristics being preserved anywhere on the planet.



June 25th, 2008


ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION BY PARK GUARDS TO POOR CHILDREN LIVING AT 1000 METRES ABOVE SEA LEVEL IN NATIONAL PARK

At more than one thousand metres above sea level in the Village of San Francisco in the Province of Jujuy in Argentina, a group of school children receive daily lessons on the environment and global warming and how deforestation, going on only ten kilometres from their school affects them directly. Their regular teachers have been augmented by the presence of Park Guards from the Parque Nacional Calilegua National Park. In what is the lunch room of the school, around 100 students, barely entering into their teens, are raptly listening to the teachings of two guard parks regarding the problems the planet is facing due to global warming. “Here it is World Environment Day every day” says Marcelo Mansilla, one of the teachers that are carrying out this programme with the help of the park guards. The children are living proof of the efficiency of the education; they speak freely about subjects such as deforestation, which affects them directly; pollution, climate change, the green house effect, its causes and solutions. The idea is to continue the programme and make it extensive to the rest of the population in the area, including grownups.



June 24th, 2008


THE DIFFICULT PROBLEM OF WILD ANIMALS VS HUMAN OCCUPATION IN THE ARGENTINEAN NATIONAL PARK OF BARITU IN THE PROVINCE OF SALTA

Surprisingly enough for visitors wanting to come to the Parque Nacional Baritu National Park in the Salta Province in Northern Argentina, the only road leading into the Park leads through Bolivia before turning back into Argentinean territory. But yet another surprise awaits the visitor, when he finds himself eye to eye with a series of small villages of populations that occupied this area before it became a National Park and who were allowed to stay within its present limits. These people have lived here for the last 400 years and make a livelihood of small scale cattle breeding and agriculture. This has put them in conflict with two of the top predators in the Park, which are the Puma and the Jaguar, both of which prey on their cattle. Since local laws prohibit the hunting of these animals, the locals feel that they have no defense against these predators. And they lose around 200 heads of cattle each year from attacks, mainly by the Puma, but also from Jaguars. This represents 10% of all their cattle and puts a heavy burden on their economy and social status, which is based on the number of heads of cattle they own. The authorities and the locals are negotiating, looking for different solutions to the problem, including an insurance scheme, something which has worked well in Pakistan with snow leopards.



June 23rd, 2008


FAMOUS NAZI HUNTER TO LOOK FOR "THE BUTCHER OF MAUTHAUSEN" BELIEVED TO BE IN HIDING IN SOUTHERN ARGENTINA OR CHILE

At the beginning of next month, Efraim Zuroff, the famous Nazi criminal hunter and director of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre will travel to San Carlos Bariloche in Argentina and Puerto Montt in Chile, two places where it is suspected that the infamous Nazi doctor Aribert Heim, also called "Dr. Death" or the "Butcher of Mauthausen" as the inmates of the former Austrian concentration camp called him. He was known for doing medical experiments, extracting organs without using anaesthetics and killing people by injections directly into the hearth. When the camp was overrun by US forces at the end of the war he disappeared from view but later surfaced and worked as a gynaecologist in Germany until 1962, when the German authorities wanted to capture him but he slipped from their net and disappeared. It is suspected that he is in hiding in the abovementioned area, well known in the past for its sympathy with Nazi refugees and also because he has a daughter living in Puerto Montt.



June 19th, 2008


A PROJECTED 8000 HECTARES DAM IN THE ARGENTINEAN PROVINCE OF CORRIENTES UNDER SCRUTINY BY ENVIRONMENTALISTS

Over 8000 hectares of natural grasslands and native forests would be buried under the waters of this projected dam, which purpose is to regulate the irrigation of downstream farmland. Local and national environmental entities have opposed the programmed dam, stating that it will irrevocably destroy upstream areas with local endemic forests, putting in danger such animals as the local river otters and the swamp deer, both declared to be "Natural Species Monuments of the Province of Corrientes". Since January this year any measure affecting the natural forests of Argentina is forbidden by law until the different provinces have developed their Forestry Ordainment Plans, which is not the case here. Other nature conservancies NGOs have declared the area to be an "Important Area for the Conservation of Birds" or AICA by its Spanish acronym.



June 18th, 2008


ANCIENT INCA ROAD CROSSES THE ARGENTINEAN NATIONAL PARK OF LOS CARDONES

The Parque Nacional Los Cardones in Northwestern Argentina, in the Province of Salta was created in 1996 with the aim of preserving the largest concentration of this cacti species in Argentina. It spans an area of 64 thousand 117 hectares and its highest point is the so called Cerro Negro or Malcante, at 5.226 metres above sea level. The cactus itself stands ten metres off the ground when at its maximum, after a 100 years of existence! Its main function is to snare and store water and it can absorb an incredible amount of water during the rainy seasons and store it in accordion like bladders until, or the animals that drink off it, needs it in the dry season. Like a camel in the desert, indeed. It will even absorb dew through its extended system of roots and its colloidal substances, all combining to form an irresistible magnet for the water molecules.

Beautiful views make up the area and more than 50,000 visitors come every year to gaze at the Valle Encantado or Enchanted Valley with its lakes, hills and condors. Or the Cachipanga plains with its troops of guanacos, not to mention the imposing Tin Tin Cardones Area, which gave the name to the National Park.

An old Inca highway crosses the central part of the protected area, which used to connect the old Inca sites of Valle de Lerma, La Paya and Potrero de Payogasta, amongst others. Here you can also find one of the few pure specie woods of churqui, a kind of local algarrobo trees.

Amongst local fauna we must point put the presence of the high Andean deer, the red fox, and several small felines, as well as the larger puma, the condor and the guanaco. Cave paintings add a historical dimension to this land showing off paintings of lama hunts and human figures.

 


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