Paraguay

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Rare maned wolves have been called “foxes on stilts”, with sharp fox-like faces, long legs so they can see over tall pampas grass, and back hairs that erect into a mane when they want to be conspicuous, as in sexual rivalry. Persecuted because of supposed predation of domestic stock, they find homes with other rarities—small Geoffrey’s cats and Chaco peccaries, until recently thought extinct—in Defensores Del Chaco in the Grand Chaco, one of South America’s great wildernesses.

Landlocked Paraguay divides into lush, well-watered rolling grasslands with most of the country’s human agrarian population to the east of the Rio Paraguay and, on the western 60 percent, the vast, arid, inhospitable Gran Chaco which has been called one of South America’s great wildernesses. In the Chaco are most of Paraguay’s wildlife, including rare hyacinth macaws, caimans, and giant anacondas. There are three large national parks, outstandingly the Defensores del Chaco.

Defensores’ dense thorn forest and wooded alluvial plains protect Paraguay’s most endangered animals—big cats such as jaguars, pumas, and ocelots; smaller, rare Geoffroy’s cats; Chacoan peccaries once thought extinct; giant anteaters; maned wolves; Brazilian tapirs; among birds, jabiru and wood storks, spectacular parrots, and bright tropical songbirds.

Defensores is 515 miles (830 km) northwest of Asunción over roads often impassable to all but 4WD vehicles. Trips sometimes can be arranged with park rangers. Fundación Moisés Bertoni (FMB), a private group, has set up a number of Private Nature Reserves (PNRs) with sympathetic ranchers, with whom visits sometimes can be arranged. Best times are September–November, the austral spring.

Another reserve of great interest is the Natural Forest Reserve Mbaracayu, which harbors jaguars and tapirs as well as a splendid variety of birdlife.

 

 Wood storks may forage up to 25 miles (40 km) from their nests, spreading broad wings and gliding on thermals with little energy expenditure. They walk up to bellydeep in freshwater ponds, marshes and sloughs groping with downcurved opened bills which snap shut on frogs, tadpoles, snakes, young alligators, even large insects. These they carry back and regurgitate, partly digested, to nestlings which can consume some 50 pounds (23 kg) of food each before fledging from dense tree colonies from the southern U.S. south to Buenos Aires.

Wood storks may forage up to 25 miles (40 km) from their nests, spreading broad wings and gliding on thermals with little energy expenditure. They walk up to bellydeep in freshwater ponds, marshes and sloughs groping with downcurved opened bills which snap shut on frogs, tadpoles, snakes, young alligators, even large insects. These they carry back and regurgitate, partly digested, to nestlings which can consume some 50 pounds (23 kg) of food each before fledging from dense tree colonies from the southern U.S. south to Buenos Aires.

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Paraguay

as well as...

Defensores del Chaco National Park

Natural Forest Reserve Mbaracayu


More about the Reserves in Paraguay

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