Wildlife watching, as its name indicates it, consists of observing
the natural biological diversity of an area with a recreational,
educational or research aim. Most commonly, this activity is centered
around birds, but can equally be pursued as observation of other
fauna as well as flora.
Flora and Fauna in Chile
fauna and flora is less diverse than that of some other countries,
but is particularly interesting in respect to its high percentage
of endemic species. This means that many of the species that are
found here do not exist in any other country in the world.
These characteristics have made our biological diversity extremely
vulnerable to any change or invasion of its ecosystem by man, leading
many species almost to extinction. For this reason, Chile has a
network of parks and natural reserves that try to protect a representative
set of ecosystems that exist throughout the country. These protected
areas are administrated by the National Forest Service (CONAF),
which manages and protects these zones so they can be enjoyed and
conditions can be improved.
Wildlife Watching in Chile
Chile, the fauna is determined by two very distinct ecosystems.
On the one hand, the desert of the Atacama - the driest in the world
- limits the amount and variety of species. At an altitude of more
than 3,500 meters (11,480 ft), however, the influence of the Bolivian
tropical climate produces an interesting environment. It is characterized
by strong rains in summer and also, by a great wealth of low altitude
vegetation that allows for the existence of numerous animal species.
This is precisely the environment of the Lauca National Park, located
in the first region, where almost a third of all the bird species
that exist in Chile can be found. Perhaps most remarkable is the
Andean Flamingo, the biggest of the three species of flamingo that
live in Northern Chile.
A greater variety of animals can be found in central Chile. The
reason is very simple: here, the climatic conditions are better
with the temperatures rarely falling below 0ºC. The most common
animals are mice, foxes and other small mammals. Pumas
still roam in several national parks. There are also a great variety
of birds in this zone. Near Santiago there are many habitats for
birds such as chiricoca, turk, chorlito cordillerano, front-black
dormilona and small churrete.
In spite of a more severe climate, the south possesses a fascinating
fauna. In the forests, for example, there are two species of deer:
the small pudú, which is found in Puerto Montt, Chiloe and
Valdivia, and the huemul, in Chiloe, Aysen and Magellan.
In Patagonia, guanacos, foxes, pumas
and ñandues roam free (ñandu is a native South American
bird similar to the ostrich, but smaller). Together with the Chilean
flamingo, the ñandu is among the most easily observed in
this region. The sea fauna of Southern Chile and of the austral
area is magnificent. But possibly the most remarkable mammals are
the whales, who meet in Antarctica to feed themselves on krill and
when the temperatures drop, they head North to mate in the tropical
Many of our native species, both in the animal and plant kingdoms,
are in serious danger of extinction. In order to reverse this decline,
it is fundamental to respect habitats and species.
When you visit a protected area respect the delicate balance of
the ecosystem, and avoid interfering with it. In cases where it
is inevitable, try to minimize the impact.
In Chile, there are no species that pose a threat to humans, such
as poisonous snakes or insects. The mountain lion or puma,
is the only big feline at these latitudes, but avoids contact with
humans and is very difficult to find in its natural environment.
|DESTINATIONS. When and
The places that best represent the flora and fauna of a region,
are the National Parks, Natural Reserves and Natural Monuments.
For suggestions of sites, visit
our Chile Attractions
- Be respectful of nature.
- Do not dump garbage. If you brought it with you, take it with
you. If you can, dispose properly of any litter you find.
- Build fires only in designated places.
- Do not collect flora and fauna specimens.
- Whenever possible stay only on marked trails.
- Do not paint or mark on stones and trees. Nobody needs to know
you were there.
- If you need to go to the toilet, dig a hole 25 cm (10 inches)
deep and cover it completely. This must be done least 30 m (100
feet) away from any water source (rivers, lakes, ponds).
Try not to leave traces of your visit.
This will allow everyone to enjoy such places in their best condition.
- Take a medicine kit with you and always go in a group (preferably
at least three people)
- Prolonged exposure to sunlight can be harmful. Wear a hat and
use the appropriate sunscreen lotion.
- Inform the park authorities and relatives or friends about
your intended route.
For wildlife watching you do not need lots of equipment. You only
require discreet clothes, binoculars and a camera.
For more information on relevant
shops, see our Shopping
The following books contain information on places where you can
observe wildlife, as well as facts on our operators, rates, conditions,
More alternatives on texts in our
Bulnes Av 259 Oficina 604
Phone (56-2) 696 66 77