The wildlife of Torres del Paine includes some 26 mammal species and over 100 different birds, many of which you can see along the W-Trek. Below is a section of wildlife from the park. Some are iconic, like the guanaco, some are rare like the Grey Fox and some are both like the Puma and Huemel. Attached to each is a point value based on the rarity of finding them in the park and on how iconic they are. Think you can reach 1,000 points?
Guanaco - 50 points
The Guanaco is a camelid species related to llamas and vicuna. Their habitat is the altiplano region of Peru, Bolivia and Chile as well as the Patagonian steppe. They can reach speeds of 35 miles per hour. Surprisingly, they are good swimmers as well. They live in small herds with one dominant male, bachelor herds of young males or small bands of females without a male lead. They spit when they feel threatened, so watch your eyes!
Grey Fox - 75 Points
The grey fox is a small canidade weighing between 5 and 12 pounds that can be found from the northern tip of Chile to its south coast and in the west part of Argentina on the opposite side of the Andes. They feed primarily on small rodents and arthropods. They are in competition with the larger Andes fox, where their habitats overlap, although the latter prefers to feed on larger mammals.Picture 4 Leanora.
Andean Fox - 75 Points
The larger Andean Fox of Torres del Paine can reach up to 30 pounds. The coat of the Andean Fox is reddish grey and they sport a white tuft of fur under their chin. In the past, the Andean Fox was domesticated and the result was the Fuegian dog. Alas, this “dog” breed did not last long, as they were not particularly loyal to their owners and became extinct sometime before 1919. The Andean Fox ranges from Ecuador to the Straits of Magellan and enjoys a variety of prey including the introduced European Hare.
Nandu - 100 Points
The Nandu, or lesser Rhea, is a large flightless bird that inhabits the eastern steppe of Torres del Paine national park. They are considered a near threatened species and suffer habitat loss through human encrouchment. The males are the caretakers of the young and will guard the eggs of multiple different mates, fending them off from predators and even other Nandu that may get to close. The birds can reach speeds up to 37 mph and can be observed running with their wings spread wide. Picture from f3nc0r3.
CONDOR - 150 POINTS
The condor is the national bird of Chile and has a wingspan that is 3.2 meters long. It’s the largest vulture in the world and circles the sky looking for dead carcases to feed on. It’s one of the longest living birds as well, with lifespans up to 70 years. The condor is considered near threatened due to loss of habitat and secondary poisoning from animals killed by hunters and persecution.
Huemul - 250 Points
The South Andean Deer, or the Huemul, is an endangered deer that is found only in Chile and Argentina. It is important species to Chile and can be found on their coat of arms. Only males develop antlers and they also feature a tell-tale black mask on the muzzle. The loss of the species is staggering; the population has been reduced by 99%. They live in small to medium size groups of mixed gender. The farther away from the slopes the deer is found, the greater the number of the herd, probably due to increased predation. Picture 6 Matt.
Puma - 300 points
The Puma, is a shy, solitary feline that roams the patagonian steppe. As their habitat ranges from Canada to the straits of magellan, they have been given over 80 different names including mountain lion and cougar. In Torres del Paine, their numbers dwindled over the years due to local ranchers dispatching the felines as they threatened livestock, although recently the population has been increasing. It is the largest carnivore in Chile and one of their favorite meals is the guanaco. Picture 1 Gonzalo Baeza.