Invasive Species in Patagonia: how they got here and effects they have had on the native species.
Invasive species: a group of living organisms tending to spread prolifically and undesirably or harmfully.
Over time, Patagonia and her native fauna and flora have gone through some very real pressures.
Beginning with Gondwana and the splitting of the continents, through the millions sheep introduced in the 1800’s that displaced the wildlife and caused destruction of native grasslands, and still continuing through today’s climate change, Patagonia endures.
Like the Great Plains or the vast Serengeti, the Patagonia pampa, steppes and cordillera began as a rich and bio-diverse environment. It was full of exotic wildlife and plants before the arrival of European settlers. For centuries, the local indigenous tribes travelled nomadically throughout Patagonia living with the seasons, in harmony with the migrations and abundance offered.
We will explore the effects of invasive, non-native species like the beaver, Castor canadensis, on the fragile lenga forests.
We will explore the effects of the chinook salmon that have migrated from Chilean fish farms through the Straits of Magellan up the Atlantic coast. These aggressive salmon are devastating the food source of the Magellanic penguin.
Working with local ecologists, conservationists, scientists, ranchers, and flyfishermen, we will take a look at the efforts in place today to protect the native environments.