Save Argentina’s birds

This 2015 video, made by a drone, is about Mar Chiquita lake in Argentina.

From BirdLife:

Irreplaceable: Mar Chiquita Lake, Argentina

By Zoltan Waliczky, 1 Feb 2017

At 45 miles (70km) long and 15 miles (24km) wide, Mar Chiquita in Argentina is the biggest salt lake in South America and the fifth biggest in the world. This hugely important wetland holds outstanding numbers of migrating and resident waterbirds, including half a million Wilson´s Phalarope Steganopus tricolor, tens of thousands of Lesser Yellowlegs Tringa flavipes, White-rumped Sandpiper Calidris fuscicollis and American Golden Plover Pluvialis dominica.

The wetland also harbours several globally endangered species, such as Dot-winged Crake Porzana spiloptera and Crowned Solitary Eagle Buteogallus coronatus, both resident species, and three species of flamingo; the Near-Threatened Chilean Flamingo Phoenicopterus chilensis and Puna Flamingo Phoenicoparrus jamesi, and the Vulnerable Andean Flamingo Phoenicoparrus andinus.

It’s no surprise that Mar Chiquita bustles with birds; it covers a vast area of around 1.2 million hectares. It has been declared an Important Bird & Biodiversity Area (IBA) by BirdLife International, and  also designated as a Ramsar Site, a Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve and a Multiple Use Reserve. Unfortunately, these designations haven´t secured the conservation status of this important wetland and it has been declared as an IBA in Danger since 2013. Major threats to the site include agriculture, deforestation and unregulated tourism. There is a high risk that the unregulated extraction of water for irrigation and other purposes from the tributaries, and particularly from the Dulce river, could markedly reduce or even totally dry out the lagoon. Growing water pollution from local industry and towns is also an important issue.

Aves Argentinas (BirdLife) has been working at Mar Chiquita for many years, carrying out bird surveys, environmental awareness-raising activities and working with local stakeholders to improve the management of the IBA. They have recently completed a detailed mapping of the site, which includes a land registry of all the properties around the wetland. This provides essential information for the ambitious plan of getting the area designated as a new National Park in Argentina. Being a National Park would help resolve the crucial water management issues and also boost tourism –  which could create local employment opportunities and assist with both national and international promotion of Mar Chiquita. Aves Argentinas is working with the local, regional and national governments and other stakeholders to turn this dream a reality in the near future.

Argentine dictatorship and the USA

This video says about itself:

The US Supported Argentina’s ‘Death Flights’

18 December 2016

Recently released files on Plan Condor reveal the dirty role the U.S. played during Argentina’s brutal dictatorship and how it supported the dumping of the bodies in the ocean.

Saving penguins in Argentina

This video from Argentina says about itself:

The comeback of the Magellanic penguins

24 May 2016

During these months this Peninsula is home to birds that have adapted to green life better than anyone: the penguins.

From BirdLife:

Protecting the penguins of Patagonia

By Esteban Frere, 12 Dec 2016

“It is with some consternation that seabird biologists return to colonies they haven’t visited for many years. The hand of man has seen many colonies around the world dwindle or even vanish.” Fortunately, for some species a little conservation goes a long way.

Esteban Frere, South America Coordinator for BirdLife’s Marine Programme, started his career as a biologist by studying the Magellanic Penguin Spheniscus magellanicus. He recently returned to Patagonia to help survey some of the colonies there.

Magellanic penguins are probably not the penguins most people think of when they hear the word ‘penguin’. They may have the classic monochromatic colouration, but they have a splash of pink around the face.

Unlike the stereotypical picture, most nesting colonies are not surrounded by snow and ice – many are found in warmer climes, where the birds dig burrows for nests to protect themselves and their chicks from the direct sun. Like all penguins though, they have definite charm, and are masters of the ocean (if not the land).

Large-scale surveys of Patagonia’s penguins have not been conducted since the 1990s, when Fundación Patagonia Natural and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) carried out comprehensive surveys of the seabirds and marine mammals of the Patagonian coast.

Over the last two years, a group of Argentinean researchers from the Universidad Nacional de la Patagonia Austral (supported by BirdLife International, WCS and Fundación Temaiken), have been surveying and assessing the population size of Magellanic penguin colonies along the southern coast of Argentine Patagonia in Santa Cruz province.

Most of these colonies have not been surveyed for almost 25 years, when some of the same researchers (once enthusiastic young seabird biologists….now enthusiastic, slightly older seabird biologists) participated in those early studies. …

It is with some consternation that seabird biologists return to colonies they haven’t visited for many years. The hand of man has seen many colonies around the world dwindle or even vanish – and this has happened within human lifetimes.

Indeed, in recent decades, many of the threats to penguins along the Patagonian coast have grown in importance – including fishery interactions (bycatch), climate change, habitat destruction – though others, like oil pollution, have declined. These changes are one of the reasons that it is so important to return to Patagonia and understand the trend of the penguin population.

Fortunately, my return to survey these colonies was a positive experience. Not only was great to spend time away from an office and among a bustling colony, but our preliminary results indicate that the Magellanic Penguin population in the extreme south of the Argentine Patagonia has remained stable, with numbers of breeding pairs very similar to those reported in the 90s.

This is a consequence of both luck and conservation action adopted by the government. Luck, because many penguin colonies are far from the big cities and access to them is difficult – so some of the issues of habitat destruction and disturbance facing colonies closer to human habitation are not so relevant here.

But at the same time, the national and provincial governments have created marine parks along the Argentinean coast and the community has lobbied for measures to reduce oil pollution at sea and human disturbance in the colonies. These conservation measures have surely helped to protect the Magellanic penguin colonies in the south of the country.

More work and effort is needed to minimize threats on the high seas, but the current situation looks like a good start. I hope my next trip to these colonies isn’t another 25 years in the waiting – and that the penguins there continue to benefit from conservation efforts.

Bringing jaguars back to Argentina

This video is about reintroducing jaguars to the Iberá region in Argentina.

More about it, in Spanish, is here.