Wildlife Conservation in Senda Romahue
For those interested in wildlife viewing in Chile, Senda Nativa Romahue project outside Puerto Varas provides a rare glimpse of some of Chile’s most unique and sought-after wild animals, with a focus on conservation. The project started out with the mission of preserving the Maullín River’s diminishing ecosystem and native forest, a major stopping point for migratory birds and an important site for biodiversity. The density and variety of birds that pass through this region make it a great destination for avid birders, and the walking trails also offer a chance for more active hiking-based exploration through two different environments.
Both birdwatching and hiking can be combined with time at the site’s rehabilitation and breeding center for wild animals, a local need that the project gradually expanded to meet. Today, Romahue’s refuge center hosts a number of local tricahue parrots, owls, pudú (the world’s smallest deer), foxes, güiña (a small, wild cat, that lives primarily in Chile and some neighboring parts of Argentina; kodkod, in English), and pumas. Most of these species are considered threatened or vulnerable, often due to persecution and loss of habitat, and a few individuals that were either too injured or young to be reintroduced to the wild have taken up more long-term residency. Visiting the site with the veterinarians who feed and care for the animals adds a special touch to the experience, as it gives you further insight into the animals’ history and own unique personality (ex: a puma raised more or less in captivity vs. a puma hunted by humans).
Senda Nativa Romahue is a worthwhile visit for those interested in seeing wildlife, appreciating Chile’s native forest, and supporting the project’s local wildlife and environmental conservation efforts.