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mercoledì 30 dicembre 2020

Viaggio attraverso i Parchi Nazionali dell'Argentina: Baritu.

We continue with our itinerant tour through the National Parks of Argentina.
We had started with our first installment on the Calilegua National Park in the province of Jujuy.
Today we will visit another natural park, in this case in the neighboring province of Salta: the Baritú National Park.
The objective of the Baritú National Park is to recover, protect and preserve the natural heritage that is considered the only one with subtropical characteristics in the Argentine territory.
Baritú National Park is a protected natural area located in the Santa Victoria department of the province of Salta.
And, like the Calilegua National Park, it is one of the integral areas of the Yungas biosphere reserve.
The Yungas Biosphere Reserve is part of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves promoted by the UNESCO Man and Biosphere Program (MAB).
Currently the condition of the park is in danger, due to the exotic of the species that coexist there that are constantly stalked by the poachers of the region, who day after day, are caught or killed some species. Likewise, there is another problem within the vicinity of the Baritú National Park and this has to do with illegal logging for the extraction of wood in the area.
This natural sanctuary is located 30 kilometers from the city of San Ramón de la Nueva Oán, in the north of the province of Salta, and shares a border with Bolivia.
It is through that country that you enter the National Park, through the Pan-American route N ° 1 until you reach the Los Toldos junction. What does Baritú mean? The name comes from Quechua and means "small population".
Here the water courses of the Lipeo, Porongal and Pescado rivers run; on whose banks you can find silly birds and different bushes.
In this framework, one of the most visited attractions in the area are the water wells, which house shads, river lions and the washed bear, with its characteristic black mask and ringed tail.
The haze that is constantly observed in the morning is the product of the jungle’s evotranspiration, especially after the rains.
The best time to visit the park is from June to October. It is traveled on foot or on horseback, always accompanied by a guide due to the complexity of the circuit.
Due to the abundant humidity and high temperatures that characterize this corner of northern Argentina, it is important that visitors wear light waterproof clothing
The reserve is also characterized by the importance of its cultural heritage, made up of various indigenous peoples; in the reserve and its area of ​​influence reside some three hundred and sixteen communities of native peoples (aymara, quechua, wichí, toba, chané, ocloya) who preserve their customs (worldview, way of life, festivities, crafts, etc.) by culture peasant and by descendants of Spaniards, reflecting a multiple, strong and particular identity of the territory.
The precipitations in the Baritú National Park, they can reach 2 thousand millimeters per year, occurring with greater intensity in the warmer months that are for the southern hemisphere, December, January and February when the summer solstice occurs.
Everyone's great dream -including the park ranger- is the jaguar. I have only seen them in the filming of the camera traps installed in the Park. The tracks are the only direct evidence that one usually has of the American big cat.
Not only scientists, botanists, and naturalists come. There are also adventurers who like to know almost virgin spaces and passionate about birds.
The truck climbs to 1,800 meters above sea level and then drops again to 1,500 meters above sea level. Even Baritú is only 44 km, but it takes us a few hours. We stop to take photos, it rains, the sun rises, a dense fog falls, it is discovered and it allows us to see amazing yellow lapachos, walnut trees, bushes (of the myrtle family), cedars and tree ferns.
In the Baritú National Park you can count on the presence of one of the largest reserves of tropical fauna, and a flora characteristic of humid tropical environments.
Drizzle, mist, dripping leaves, rays of light from some elusive and persistent reflection of the sun. It is a deep and undulating hillside full of epiphytes - plants that grow on others - that create a magical halo. From time to time, we feel that we have entered a parallel universe more similar to that of the movie Avatar than ours.
The tree community gathers a number of species which vary according to altitude levels, from the valleys to the ridges of the mountainous areas. In the lower levels, forestry such as jacaranda, peteribí, viraró and quina develop.
A unique species due to its behavior is the maroma, whose seed germinates on the branch of a tree, expands and lengthens its roots to the ground, and then develops its trunk and branches by wrapping and even drowning the specimen that gave it support.
This nature reserve is one of the most protected and best isolated areas in all of Argentina, which preserves its quasi-virgin nature.
In the intermediate levels of the slopes, up to around 1400 m.a.s.l, imposing Salta cedars, yellow lapacho, horco-molle, Creole walnut and others live.
Above this level, the jungle loses biodiversity and acquires the character of a forest, in which the coniferous pine of the hill, the alder and the walnut stand out.
As for the fauna that inhabits the Park, its composition and variety make it a resource of singular importance among the conservation objectives.
This is emphasized in the case of species such as the caí monkey, the river wolf, the ocelot or ounce cat, the tapir, the yaguareté, which not only integrate our native fauna but also appear in the lists of endangered species , made by specialists in the subject.
In better conditions are other mammals, such as the cougar, the ferret, the lipped peccary, the mayuato or washing bear, the corzuela, the tapir, on the banks of watercourses the capybara and many others
Spectacular panoramic view from one of the spotters installed in the park.
An animal that is very curious about its way of life is aí-aí or lazy. Thanks to its strong hooked nails, it lives and moves hanging from the branches.
Their movements are of an imperceptible slowness reason why it is very difficult to discover it; for the better, chlorophytic algae develop in the hairs (honeycomb hairs) on the belly and sides that give it a greenish hue that blends in with the environment.
The only way to photograph the yaguareté (the largest feline in Latin America and the third largest in the world) is through cameras hidden in the vegetation.
In this way they can locate, document and follow their night movements.
A special mention should be made for the friendly and elusive squirrel, whose image is the center of attention in the Park's logo.
A particular chapter is that of birdlife, whose biodiversity and exclusivity stands out over the same characters of the birds of other parks that house sectors of the Yungas (P.N. Calilegua and P. N. El Rey).
The condor and the red-headed jote and the black-headed jote are prominent birds.
The large toucan, a variety of hummingbirds, parrots and the magpie are characteristic.
The Baritú National Park for the Argentine, is an exotic jewel in the territory, since it represents the only natural reserve where you can see a tropical jungle influenced by the Tropic of Capricorn and a virgin environment guarded by mountain formations that make access difficult from man to said space.
In the Park area, species such as the peregrine falcon, the widow eagle and the green macaw find safety, the possibility of survival outside of the protected areas is critical.
Among the reptiles, the variety of lizards, snakes and some poisonous form (yaraba chica) is notorious.
Around or in water sources, various species of toads can be observed, the notable marsupial frog and an endemic climbing frog. Among native fish, the mojarras, the old water, the shad, the catfish and the dorados are common.
Of the numerous water courses that cross it, the most important are the Lipeo river in the north, and the Porongal and Pescado rivers, which drain into the Bermejo river and in a small section form the northeast limit of the Park.
The tranquility of the waters of the Porongal river in its initial section.
And its current aspect as it approaches the mouth with the river Pescado.


giovedì 17 dicembre 2020

Viaggio attraverso i Parchi Nazionali dell'Argentina: Rio Pilcomayo.

We continue our journey through the National Parks of Argentina.
It is noteworthy that, as is customary in most of the parks and natural reserves of Argentina, admission is free and free, every day of the year.

Sunset in the Rio Pilcomayo National Park

The Río Pilcomayo National Park.

The Río Pilcomayo National Park preserves a representative sample of the Eastern District of the Gran Chaco, characterized by a large plain covered with estuaries and lagoons, palm savannahs, mountain islands and riverside jungle.
The climate is temperate subtropical, with an average of 1,200 mm per year of rainfall that floods the extensive grasslands with the exception of the highlands.
The average temperature is 23º C. In summer it exceeds 40º C and in winter with several days of frost, temperatures drop below zero.

Hidden cameras are an excellent way to record the night life of many animals.


The fauna is adapted to this climate and stands out for its great diversity: about 322 bird species, 80 fish species, 32 amphibian species, 50 reptile species and 90 mammal species.
The emblem animal of the park is the aguara guazu, in danger of extinction. No more than 900 copies have been surveyed.

The aguará guazú is the largest of the South American foxes.
The Rio Pilcomayo National Park has the task, not only of protecting the vegetation that grows there, but also of the fauna that inhabits and feeds on it.
We find throughout the park yacarés, the boa curiyú, the monkey carayá, fishing bats, capybara, aguara popé, aguará guazú, coati, tapir, puma, mountain fox, river wolf, ocelot, the big anteater, and other difficult figurines.

The Río Pilcomayo National Park presents a very rich fauna
We can also count (eye to the photographers) more than 300 species of birds, storks, herons, roseate spoonbills, ducks, straw-headed woodpecker, ñenday parrot, tuyuyú, the yabirú, ñandúes, groups of red-legged chuñas and many more.

The collared yetapá was declared an animal of provincial interest to protect it.

Of particular beauty, the Collared Yetapá (Alectrurus risora) is undoubtedly one of the most attractive grassland birds


The great environmental diversity supports a varied flora, which, favored by the subtropical climate and abundance of water, develops exuberantly. In the open areas covered with Palmares de Palma Blanca, we will find a dense and continuous herbaceous cover forming beautiful grasslands.

Basketry with palm leaves is one of the artisan activities of the park
Adapted to withstand floods, they are made up of grasses such as Espartillo, which grows to 50 cm in height, the Yellow Straw and the Boba Straw.
The latter generally grows in fields covered with termite nests, known locally as "tacurúes". The high mount islets are made up of stout trees.
Examples worth mentioning are Lapacho, with beautiful pink flowers, Quebracho Colorado Chaqueño, Guayacán, Urunday and Espina Corona, among many others. Bordering the course of the Pilcomayo River, we find the Forest in Gallery.
Densely covered with vines, lianas and epiphytes we will observe enormous trees, up to 20 meters high, such as the Tarumá and the Higuerón, accompanied by Sauces Criollos, Alisos de Río and the Ingá, which vegetate on the banks.

The great environmental diversity supports a varied flora, which, favored by the subtropical climate and abundance of water, develops exuberantly.
Aquatic environments support an abundant flora, which varies in terms of its composition in spices, as we move away from the shore towards the center of the body of water.
We will first meet dense communities of Guajó, (the Guajozales) and Pirí (the Pirizales), which cover the edges of the lagoons, sometimes reaching two meters in height.
They are accompanied by Totora, Achira and Paja Brava. Towards the center of the lagoon we will find an enormous variety of floating plants such as the well-known Camalote or Aguapey, Repollitos, Helechitos and Lentejitas de Agua.

In the lowlands the estuaries extend and in the highest points, the mountain islands.
The National Park has two areas of public use for the visitor, Estero Poí and Laguna Blanca. Both have ideal conditions for recreation and recreation throughout the year. It is recommended as the best time of year to visit it from March to October.
We visited the two and we went on to tell them the most salient aspects of each.

Highlight "Estero Poí".

The most characteristic environment of the National Park is the savanna with palm trees, here the view is lost in the immense plain of green pastures dotted with caranday palms and the large termite mounds where anteaters find their food.
Its landscape is shaped by the alternation of fires and floods, from where the mountain islets emerge, patches of forest that you can enter through the trails and observe the plant species of these environments such as the red quebracho, the urunday and the guayacán, among others.
The more than 300 species of birds that the protected area houses make up one of the main attractions of the Park. They coexist with other, somewhat more elusive mammals, such as hoopoons, fur bears, bush foxes, lipped and collared peccaries, carayá monkeys and mirikiná monkeys.
The mirikiná monkey is a typical species of the Argentine northwest.

Highlight "Laguna Blanca".

Another point of great scenic beauty is the Laguna Blanca, a large 700-hectare water mirror, which is accessed through a system of walkways, from where you can enjoy spectacular sunsets that color a landscape featuring guajós, camalotes, pirís, and some yacarés that appear from the water.
Location: 8 km from the town of Laguna Naineck.
Services: Information office. Camping with electric light and plugs. Bathrooms with showers enabled for people with disabilities. Picnic tables. Steakhouses. Wash basins. Catwalks. Supply of treated water (non-potable).

By the beginning of the 20th century, virtually all forests suitable for the bird had disappeared.

How to access.

By vehicle: from the city of Formosa on the RN 11 to the city of Clorinda. From there, take RN 86 and travel 50 km to the town of Laguna Naineck or 60 km to Laguna Blanca. From the RN 86, which joins the two towns, 6 km and 8 km local roads depart, respectively, to the entrance gates to the National Park.
Public transport service: from anywhere in the country to the city of Formosa or Clorinda. In both places, a combination can be made towards the towns of Laguna Naineck and Laguna Blanca by the Godoy Company, Norte Bis and Flecha Bus. The buses do not reach the protected area but to the closest towns (Laguna Naineck and Laguna Blanca); Once there, you can take a taxi to reach the protected area.

sabato 28 novembre 2020

Viaggio attraverso i Parchi Nazionali dell'Argentina: Los Cardones.

Most of the park has a clearly arid climate with very little annual rainfall.
Continuing with our tour through the National Parks of Argentina, today we stop to visit Los Cardones National Park in the province of Salta.
Salta is the province with the most national parks. We have already referred to the El Rey National Park enclosed by mountain ranges that gradually descend to the central valley, forming an immense amphitheater of singular beauty and to the Baritú National Parkdedicated to preserving a sector of Cloud Forest that has remained practically virgin due to its inaccessibility and its relief, since the rugged landscape made logging difficult.

Los Cardones National Park.

Welcome sign upon entering the Los Cardones National Park, built as usual in these parks, with firewood from trees in the region.
Its beautiful and high cardonal stands on the slopes of the hills.
They tell the legends of the ancient settlers, who are indigenous people who watch over the valleys and mountains in the presence of strangers.
Precisely these specimens of Cardones (Trichocereus pasacana), beautiful desert lookouts, give the National Park its name.

The cardon.

In the representative plant of the park, And from it takes the name. Huge amounts of cardons everywhere.
A route winds between cardons and amancay flowers. It is the path that anticipates the rugged simplicity of the Los Cardones National Park, in the Calchaquí Valleys.
There, erect cardons guard the roads of the ancient Inca Empire and the unique Enchanted Valley, which keep the vestiges of its rich past.
The predominant plant species in the area, and which gives its name to the park, has adult specimens that can reach 3 meters in length, between 250 and 300 years old.
They were in danger of extinction due to the irrational exploitation that was made of their wood, now the National Park Law protects them, since 1996, in this magnificent area that encompasses four different natural environments.
Between 4,500 and 3,500 meters, there is a cold and dry climate with a great thermal amplitude and poor soils in terms of organic matter, stony and sandy soils with high content of salts and sulfur. Small shrubs and lots of bare ground space. Among the herbaceous species, there are plants with thorny branches and some yellowish flowers.

Flora and fauna.

The flora and fauna show characteristics as unique and rugged as the landscape that shelters them. In addition to touring the desert beauty of the National Park along a route in good condition, you can take photographs, go hiking, hike and observe flora and fauna.
The cardons in their arid silence, impress with their firm bearing on the ground.
Different legends and popular beliefs have told the origin of the immense colonies of cardones that are found throughout the whole of northern Argentina. There has even been talk of the character of these plants, adding the nickname of sad, simply because they remain static, immobile.
hey will always be there, to delight the view in a different landscape. Although its felling is prohibited, it is possible to have a souvenir of its wood, because the park guards collect the dried specimens and give them to the artisans in the area, so they can make real works of art.
A diverse and austere flora can be seen throughout the Los Cardones Park, distributed in four distinct environments.
The first environment of the reserve is that of the Puna, whose height of between 3500 and 4500 meters above sea level distinguishes it with almost zero humidity and temperatures that make it shiver with cold at night.
The typical species are tola, añagua, rica-rica, cortdera, muña-muña and grasses. In the prepuna the heights drop to 2200, here the churquis reign, forming small forests known as "El Churcal".
Low-spiny plants. The presence of cacti or cardons is only beginning to be noticed as we gain height on the ground.
The third of the environments is the western forest, where the cardons abound, the jarillas -of great importance, since the cardons are born and grow under the protection of this shrub until reaching a suitable size- and the yellow flowers of the amancay, which onl.
They grow in rainy seasons and cluster at the foot of the slopes of the Tin Tin hill and the Quebrada de Cajoncillo. In more open and desert sectors are the typical breas and we challenge, which are bushes that do not exceed one meter in height, with green stems and yellow flowers.
The last of the environments is the high Andean foggy grassland, with an average annual rainfall of less than 200 millimeters, in this area grasses and legumes, and some species of fungi predominate.
Guanacos, red foxes, gray foxes, chinchillones, pumas, Andean pericotes and the small quirquinchos walk through the vast territory.
Owners of the desolately beautiful environment of Los Cardones, birds such as the Andean gull and the cardon woodpecker also live in this extensive region, but the first mention is taken by the condor, whose sighting at first sight provides pleasure and admiration.
Los Cardones with its clearly arid climate, with precipitations that do not exceed 200 millimeters a year and average temperatures of 11 ° in winter and 18 ° in summer, protect endangered species such as vicuña and taruca or huemul from the north.
In the heart of Los Cardones National Park, the enchanting sensation of this singular landscape that draws the largest cactus on the continent multiplies to infinity.
They say that if you remain silent in the middle of the cardonal and wait for a few moments for the wind to blow, you can listen to music, or at least a piping sound like a deep, eternal whistle, which floods the space and reaches the sky.
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