Tuesday, 20 December 2005

Paraguay -- the Gran Chaco -- a Legacy for the Future

I have just returned from a highly successful visit to the Chaco and Pantanal of Paraguay. I was there to take the representatives of Sid Templer's family to look at an estancia that was available to be bought as a permanent memorial to Sid ( a Halesworth resident who sadly died two years ago), and turned into Paraguay's first Pantanal Nature Reserve. It was an incredible journey, that involved nine hours in the pouring rain, in an open boat, mostly after darkness had fallen, navigating by the reflection of Caimans' eyes along the banks. When the rains stopped and the sun came out temperatures soared to over 30 degrees celcius, and mosquitos the size of a jumbo jet descended (that's a slight exaggeration). But what a place. Teeming with wildlife.

Capybaras abounded on the river banks, and as well as Yacare Caiman we saw anaconda, myriads of birds, including the massive Jabiru storks. We didn't see Jaguars, Giant Armadillos, Giant Anteaters, or Giant Otters -- all of which occur there. But we did see South American River Otters, which are far more difficult to see than the Giant species.

The World Land Trust's Partner, Guyra Paraguay has a first rate track record, and with the funds provided through the WLT, we feel confident they will establish a world class nature reserve. It not only protects a sample of the Pantanal habitat, which is rare in Paraguay, but also a mosaic of palm savvanah and chaco.

This now one of several major reserves created as memorials and funded through the WLT -- what better way of remembering someone, than with a nature reserve? And we know there are more to come because many of our supporters have already told us that they have made a legacy to the WLT in their will. And if you want to know more about creating your 'own' reserve do contact me. If you have £5000 or more to spare there are many parts of the world where this will create a reserve of real significance -- either by adding critaical pieces to an existing reserve, or starting a completely new one

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