Get ready to learn about and witness an amazing story about the Patagonian beavers and how humans can accidentally generate a devastating natural disaster by turning what could have been an ecological paradise, instead, into a real ecological problem. We’ll also hike through the beautiful Patagonian forest and Tierra Mayor valley to reach the Emerald Lagoon, which radiates shades of emerald green with the sunlight.
In 1946, Argentina’s government decided to import a group of 50 beavers from Canada to Ushuaia, in hopes they would thrive and reproduce. The goal was to help foster the fur trade and boost the local economy. Unfortunately, the business never took off...but the beavers sure did! With no natural predators in the area, the beavers flourished from a population of only 50 to over 100,000!
Because beavers are excellent swimmers, they build dams out of the large trees they fell in order to flood their habitat and protect themselves from predators. These dams can be huge in size. In fact, the largest beaver dam in the world (located in Canada) is a half a mile (850 meters) long and is even visible from space!
In their natural habitat, these furry creatures seem like nature’s smartest engineers when building dams to protect themselves. But here in this strange habitat they are thriving without limits and are mindlessly felling trees and destroying the ecosystem with not a single predator in sight! Before having an up close encounter with the beavers, we’ll take an hour and a half ride to Tierra Mayor Valley. Upon arrival, we’ll enjoy a pleasant hike through the Patagonian forest until we reach the Emerald Lagoon. As we trek further into the quiet forest, with the marshlands lightly squishing beneath our feet, we’ll soon arrive at the heart of the lagoon. Here you’ll be dazzled by the shades of emerald green that reflect off the water when it’s touched by sunlight. After a short trek back from the Emerald Lagoon, we’ll arrive at the flowing streams that are home to the beavers in the area. Here we’ll have the chance to see the beavers in action as they leave their burrows in the afternoon to begin their work (this is why the tour starts in the afternoon).
As night slowly approaches, we leave the beavers and make our way to the refuge, where a tasty dinner awaits us. After dinner, we’ll return to our hotel with the knowledge of having learned how easy it is for humans to mess up a fragile ecosystem and the natural beauty of our planet.
Important: Please note that the refuge where dinner is held is very rustic, so there are no bathrooms, except in nature.
The tour’s exact itinerary and duration may change subject to weather conditions and decisions of the tour guide to optimize your tour experience.