Antarctica Adventure - 2002

We were also taken to Lago Escondido which was a lovely alpine lake surrounded by mountains and glaciers with a wonderful little lodge on its shores. The Hosteria Petrel was set amid the most astounding array of lupine we had ever seen; not only were the flowers enormous, they also came in colors we did not even know existed such as reds, blues, purples, magentas, mauve, white, yellow. It was a really incredible display. A most interesting part of our little tour was the lecture on how destructive the introduced beavers have been in Tierra del Fuego. Someone decided that since there is so much forestland and rivers and streams here that beavers fur production would be a good business for the area. So about l950, 35 pairs were introduced and they obviously loved this new habitat. Now there are over 40,000 beavers and they are eating all the trees, especially the native beech (lenga tree) which is being eradicated. These North American beavers reach incredible sizes in these parts, 70 pounds or more because they have no natural enemies and there is plentiful nutrition for them. Worse yet, the fur business idea failed because the pelts these immigrants produce never achieved commercial quality. Evidently, the beech trees sustain beaver growth, reproduction and even

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