Monday, 8 March 2004

The Pumas are getting closer -- latest news from Patagonia

Latest news from the Estancia la Esperanza, in Patagonia, is that the puma kills are being found even with a few metres of the managers accommodation. But still the puma hasn't been seen. Two or three kills a week have been the norm for several months, of a mixture of sheep and guanacos. The only problem with this is that the sheep are the main source of income for managing the Reserve. It's easy to see how local sheep farmers take revenge on the pumas and kill them, despite legal protection. But we are trying to show that sheep and pumas can live in harmony. Once the guanaco numbers have rebuilt, the sheep kills will probably decline. At least that's the theory. The reality is that guanacos are indeed the natural prey for puma, and on the Estancia, they do show a preference for them over sheep. Pumas rarely revisit a sheep kill, but they will return two or three nights in succesion to a guanaco kill.

But this reminds me of one of my tried and tested hobby-horses. The big cats that allegedly roam the English countryside. How is it that in a place where the puma is know to be present, where two or three fresh kills are found each week are found, together with droppings and footprints, in an open landscape with no trees, pumas are never seen. Whereas in England (black) panthers are seen, but kills rarely if ever found, and footprints and droppings are also a rarity.

But back to the Patagonian pumas. If they are to continue to survive -- and they are very rare outside our ranch, the FPN (our local partner) will need help. It costs around $3000 a month to maintain, warden and protect the area. Not a lot, but with the sheep disappearing, we need alternative incomes. We are going to refurbish the farm buildings, and this will then help generate income from accommodation fees -- but right now we need donations and grants to carry out the refurbishment. Will you help?

The Argentine peso was equal to 1$US a couple of years ago. It is now 1$US = around 3 pesos, so a donation now achieves a lot more. Do visit our donantions page and support this project -- a few minutes of your time, and a few dollars, Euros, pounds, roubles, or almost any other currency. Make your donation on the internet, and even though you make it in stirling, it will come out of your account in your own currency.

No comments:

Post a Comment