Wildlife in Patagonia
Patagonia is well known for its contrasting landscapes that we can find from the dry planes known as “Pampas” to the sinking of the Andes range in the Strait of Magellan and from the Atlantic to the Pacific.
Each landscape and climate make the perfect environment for different Patagonia animals. This diversity is well known and cherished by wildlife photographers and animal lovers worldwide.
Brief description of Patagonia
Patagonia is a unique territory shared by Argentina and Chile and is one of the less populated areas on Earth. There are plenty of wild areas where Patagonia animals can live freely.
Argentina and Chile have been working on the conservation and reintroduction of species by creating different National Parks and Local Reserves. Also, as time passes local people show more interest in adapting to Patagonia animals and not the other way round.
Patagonia Animals: main species, where and when to see them.
1). Atlantic Patagonia, Argentina
Cliffs and a desertic climate define the coastline of the Atlantic Ocean in Patagonia. Sealife is the main attraction in this region and Peninsula Valdes is the best place to spot wildlife. This peninsula has been named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1999.
The Southern Right Whale is the main attraction and can be seen by the coast and by doing navigation from Puerto Piramides. The best time of the year is between September and March. Dolphins and the great amphibious mammals such as Seawolves, sea elephants, and seals can be seen.
Another impressive Patagonia animal is the Orca. There is a stable population in this region that can be seen twice a year hunting with their unique technique of intentional beaching. This phenomenon only happens during the “double tide days” which last about two weeks in April/March and October/November.
Bird watching is assured. The main species are among them Magellan penguins, some species of cormorants, seagulls, and Antarctic doves. During your visit to the Atlantic area the Patagonic Mara and its predator, the Grey Fox, will accompany you.
2). Tierra del Fuego, Argentina
Tierra del Fuego is an archipelago located at the end of the world, in the southernmost part of America. In this territory, shared by Argentina and Chile, marine life is the main attraction.
Near Ushuaia, Argentina, there is a beautiful island called Martillo where there is a huge colony of Magellanic Penguins. Also, is one of the main ports in the area, and sailing through the Beagle Channel is a must to enjoy seabird watching.
In Cape Horn, Chile, there is the second largest colony of penguins on Earth. The main specie is King Penguin. Besides the Patagonia Animals, Cape Horn is an important place to visit because is where the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans meet.
Other endemic Patagonia animals found on the Island are the Rex Fox and the Rhea.
3). Magellan Strait
Leaving from Punta Arenas, Chile, there are two beautiful islands to visit. From November to March, Magdalena Island is one of the best places in Chile to spot Magellan Penguin. From there you can access Marta Island, where plenty of sea lions live. If you are lucky, on your way there you might see Commerson’s dolphins.
While the superstar here is the giant Humpback whale, there is plenty of wildlife in the reserve, including albatross and even orcas.
4). Torres del Paine National Park, Chile
This park is one of the most famous in the world. The granite formations, glaciers, blue lakes, and forests will live you speechless. In 1978 UNESCO recognized this park as a World Biosphere Reserve. It has one of the most important concentrations of Guanacos, the Puma’s favorite meal. Puma Concolor is the most important predator of Patagonia animals.
There are plenty of Condores, one of the biggest flying birds on earth. Like vultures, they are very important for the food chain of all the Andes. Another endangered species is the Huemul (Southern Andean Deer), which is very hard to see.
Although the high season for hiking is in the summer, it is easier to track Pumas and Huemules when it is not as crowded as it is between December and March.
5). Carretera Austral, Chile
National road 7 in Chile goes from Puerto Mont to Villa O’Higgins through1240 kilometers. This panoramic route crosses many national parks and reserves and is one of the least populated areas in Chile. The National Parks in the region are Pumanlin, Queulat, and Patagonia National Park.
Big Patagonia animals such as Puma, Andean Deer, and Guanacos can be seen all year long. In Cerro Castillo Reserve you can even see the southern Pudu, which is the smallest deer in the world.
This area is also home to the Lesser Rhea from the Andes, also known as the South-American ostrich. There is an important reintroduction program because of the danger of extinction they face.
Sailing through the fjords to Isla Magdalena is also a good option to see, among other species, the southern river otter, an endangered medium-sized otter.
The best time of the year to visit this region is spring and summer.
How can I contribute to the conservation of Patagonia Animals?
When visiting natural areas is very important to be conscious of the impact that we can generate if we are not responsible. On your trips, a good way of reducing the negative impact is never to leave your food or trash where you go, this will prevent animals from being fed with that.
Is important to follow the trails, they were planned to prevent us from invading the other species’ territory and keep us safe.
If we see some endangered species on our visit, let the local authorities know. This helps the tracking system for preservation.
The best way to enjoy wildlife is by just admiring, please avoid physical contact with the animals.
Wildlife tours in Patagonia
We are a local tour operator which offers custom trips in Argentina and Chile. We invite you to explore our Argentina wildlife tours (including also Chile and the region). As a kick off, get inspired by our Puma tracking tour , which includes also other activities such as looking for Orcas (Killer Whales), walking among penguins, and optionally kayaking among humpback whales!
Get in touch, and let’s start your next trip together!0